This article for primary teachers suggests ways in which to help children become better at working systematically.
In this article, the NRICH team describe the process of selecting solutions for publication on the site.
What two-digit numbers can you make with these two dice? What can't you make?
Can you complete this calculation by filling in the missing numbers? In how many different ways can you do it?
Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.
Can you work out some different ways to balance this equation?
Choose four different digits from 1-9 and put one in each box so that the resulting four two-digit numbers add to a total of 100.
Follow the clues to find the mystery number.
This multiplication uses each of the digits 0 - 9 once and once only. Using the information given, can you replace the stars in the calculation with figures?
In the multiplication calculation, some of the digits have been replaced by letters and others by asterisks. Can you reconstruct the original multiplication?
Can you replace the letters with numbers? Is there only one
solution in each case?
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
Can you find the chosen number from the grid using the clues?
What happens when you round these three-digit numbers to the nearest 100?
This activity focuses on rounding to the nearest 10.
Use two dice to generate two numbers with one decimal place. What happens when you round these numbers to the nearest whole number?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
This article for teachers suggests activities based on pegboards, from pattern generation to finding all possible triangles, for example.
If you put three beads onto a tens/ones abacus you could make the
numbers 3, 30, 12 or 21. What numbers can be made with six beads?
How could you put these three beads into bags? How many different ways can you do it? How could you record what you've done?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
Have a go at balancing this equation. Can you find different ways of doing it?
Is it possible to place 2 counters on the 3 by 3 grid so that there
is an even number of counters in every row and every column? How
about if you have 3 counters or 4 counters or....?
Zumf makes spectacles for the residents of the planet Zargon, who
have either 3 eyes or 4 eyes. How many lenses will Zumf need to
make all the different orders for 9 families?
Move from the START to the FINISH by moving across or down to the
next square. Can you find a route to make these totals?
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
How can you put five cereal packets together to make different
shapes if you must put them face-to-face?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Frances and Rishi were given a bag of lollies. They shared them out evenly and had one left over. How many lollies could there have been in the bag?
Tim had nine cards each with a different number from 1 to 9 on it.
How could he have put them into three piles so that the total in
each pile was 15?
Use these head, body and leg pieces to make Robot Monsters which
are different heights.
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
Use the interactivity to help get a feel for this problem and to find out all the possible ways the balls could land.
How many shapes can you build from three red and two green cubes? Can you use what you've found out to predict the number for four red and two green?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
You have two egg timers. One takes 4 minutes exactly to empty and
the other takes 7 minutes. What times in whole minutes can you
measure and how?
Can you put the numbers 1-5 in the V shape so that both 'arms' have the same total?
Can you work out how to balance this equaliser? You can put more
than one weight on a hook.
Katie had a pack of 20 cards numbered from 1 to 20. She arranged
the cards into 6 unequal piles where each pile added to the same
total. What was the total and how could this be done?
There were chews for 2p, mini eggs for 3p, Chocko bars for 5p and
lollypops for 7p in the sweet shop. What could each of the children
buy with their money?
Here you see the front and back views of a dodecahedron. Each
vertex has been numbered so that the numbers around each pentagonal
face add up to 65. Can you find all the missing numbers?
Alice's mum needs to go to each child's house just once and then
back home again. How many different routes are there? Use the
information to find out how long each road is on the route she
In this maze of hexagons, you start in the centre at 0. The next
hexagon must be a multiple of 2 and the next a multiple of 5. What
are the possible paths you could take?
In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles
together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can
be fitted together?
A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work
out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes
could he have taken?
Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire
Can you make a train the same length as Laura's but using three differently coloured rods? Is there only one way of doing it?
Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white rods?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
The ancient Egyptians were said to make right-angled triangles
using a rope with twelve equal sections divided by knots. What
other triangles could you make if you had a rope like this?