Math Curiosity: Ulam Spiral

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Students will generate an Ulam Spiral, highlight the primes, and note what patterns they see.

You can read more about this math curiosity on Wikipedia.


  1. Students arrange the first 100 (or so) integers into a spiral.
  2. They will highlight (or circle) only the primes in their spiral, looking for patterns.
  3. Finally, they will either extend their spiral or try to create a new shape or spiral and look for patterns.


  • A huge, pre-generated Ulam spiral In case your students cannot form the spiral, or want to work with a huge one. Note: The direction of this spiral is opposite of the one in the video, but the patterns will be the same.

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