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?
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?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
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?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two numbers...
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Can you explain how this card trick works?
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.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how it works?
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?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
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.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
What's the largest volume of box you can make from a square of paper?
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?
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?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .
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.
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.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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 for. . . .
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.
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
I added together some of my neighbours' house numbers. Can you explain the patterns I noticed?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
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 find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?
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?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
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.