What is the total number of squares that can be made on a 5 by 5 geoboard?

A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .

Can you dissect a square into: 4, 7, 10, 13... other squares? 6, 9, 12, 15... other squares? 8, 11, 14... other squares?

Sets of integers like 3, 4, 5 are called Pythagorean Triples, because they could be the lengths of the sides of a right-angled triangle. Can you find any more?

Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?

Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?

Polygons drawn on square dotty paper have dots on their perimeter (p) and often internal (i) ones as well. Find a relationship between p, i and the area of the polygons.

Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are the three numbers Jo had to start with?”

The diagram illustrates the formula: 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n - 1) = n² Use the diagram to show that any odd number is the difference of two squares.

The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?

Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?

The sum of the numbers 4 and 1 [1/3] is the same as the product of 4 and 1 [1/3]; that is to say 4 + 1 [1/3] = 4 � 1 [1/3]. What other numbers have the sum equal to the product and can this be so. . . .

With one cut a piece of card 16 cm by 9 cm can be made into two pieces which can be rearranged to form a square 12 cm by 12 cm. Explain how this can be done.

Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?

Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?

Can you show that you can share a square pizza equally between two people by cutting it four times using vertical, horizontal and diagonal cuts through any point inside the square?

What is the volume of the solid formed by rotating this right angled triangle about the hypotenuse?

The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?

It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?

The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.

Four bags contain a large number of 1s, 3s, 5s and 7s. Pick any ten numbers from the bags above so that their total is 37.

Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?

Make some loops out of regular hexagons. What rules can you discover?

What is the ratio of the area of a square inscribed in a semicircle to the area of the square inscribed in the entire circle?

If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.

Can you find a general rule for finding the areas of equilateral triangles drawn on an isometric grid?

Triangle ABC is an equilateral triangle with three parallel lines going through the vertices. Calculate the length of the sides of the triangle if the perpendicular distances between the parallel. . . .

What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =

Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?

Find some examples of pairs of numbers such that their sum is a factor of their product. eg. 4 + 12 = 16 and 4 × 12 = 48 and 16 is a factor of 48.

Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?

If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable. Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.

What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?

Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow paint on their faces?

Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?

15 = 7 + 8 and 10 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers?

Spotting patterns can be an important first step - explaining why it is appropriate to generalise is the next step, and often the most interesting and important.

The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind maths trails.

A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100 squares? Can you find them all?

Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?

Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?

Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?

How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?

Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.

When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...

The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of moves.

To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.

A red square and a blue square overlap so that the corner of the red square rests on the centre of the blue square. Show that, whatever the orientation of the red square, it covers a quarter of the. . . .