Charlie and Abi put a counter on 42. They wondered if they could visit all the other numbers on their 1-100 board, moving the counter using just these two operations: x2 and -5. What do you think?
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?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
A country has decided to have just two different coins, 3z and 5z coins. Which totals can be made? Is there a largest total that cannot be made? How do you know?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
Make some loops out of regular hexagons. What rules can you discover?
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.
Can you explain how this card trick works?
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to develop the skills of strategic planning.
What's the largest volume of box you can make from a square of paper?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Imagine you have a large supply of 3kg and 8kg weights. How many of each weight would you need for the average (mean) of the weights to be 6kg? What other averages could you have?
Think of a number, add one, double it, take away 3, add the number you first thought of, add 7, divide by 3 and take away the number you first thought of. You should now be left with 2. How do I. . . .
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
A game for 2 players
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.
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
We can show that (x + 1)² = x² + 2x + 1 by considering the area of an (x + 1) by (x + 1) square. Show in a similar way that (x + 2)² = x² + 4x + 4
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
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.
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
A game for 2 players with similarities to NIM. Place one counter on each spot on the games board. Players take it is turns to remove 1 or 2 adjacent counters. The winner picks up the last counter.
You can work out the number someone else is thinking of as follows. Ask a friend to think of any natural number less than 100. Then ask them to tell you the remainders when this number is divided by. . . .
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. . . .
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two numbers...
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by 99 square board?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
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?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written different fractions.
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten. Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?
Great Granddad is very proud of his telegram from the Queen congratulating him on his hundredth birthday and he has friends who are even older than he is... When was he born?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?