This article for primary teachers suggests ways in which to help children become better at working systematically.
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
In this article, the NRICH team describe the process of selecting solutions for publication on the site.
This article for teachers suggests activities based on pegboards, from pattern generation to finding all possible triangles, for example.
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.
Use the interactivity to help get a feel for this problem and to find out all the possible ways the balls could land.
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?
This cube has ink on each face which leaves marks on paper as it is rolled. Can you work out what is on each face and the route it has taken?
A game for 2 people. Take turns placing a counter on the star. You win when you have completed a line of 3 in your colour.
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins
to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?
Use the clues to colour each square.
In your bank, you have three types of coins. The number of spots shows how much they are worth. Can you choose coins to exchange with the groups given to make the same total?
Arrange 9 red cubes, 9 blue cubes and 9 yellow cubes into a large 3 by 3 cube. No row or column of cubes must contain two cubes of the same colour.
How many triangles can you make using sticks that are 3cm, 4cm and 5cm long?
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
A tetromino is made up of four squares joined edge to edge. Can
this tetromino, together with 15 copies of itself, be used to cover
an eight by eight chessboard?
How many trains can you make which are the same length as Matt's, using rods that are identical?
The idea of this game is to add or subtract the two numbers on the dice and cover the result on the grid, trying to get a line of three. Are there some numbers that are good to aim for?
Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire
Have a go at this well-known challenge. Can you swap the frogs and toads in as few slides and jumps as possible?
Try out the lottery that is played in a far-away land. What is the
chance of winning?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
There is a long tradition of creating mazes throughout history and across the world. This article gives details of mazes you can visit and those that you can tackle on paper.
You have 4 red and 5 blue counters. How many ways can they be
placed on a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows columns and diagonals
have an even number of red counters?
Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white rods?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
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....?
This challenging activity involves finding different ways to distribute fifteen items among four sets, when the sets must include three, four, five and six items.
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these
Try this matching game which will help you recognise different ways of saying the same time interval.
There are nine teddies in Teddy Town - three red, three blue and three yellow. There are also nine houses, three of each colour. Can you put them on the map of Teddy Town according to the rules?
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
Ben has five coins in his pocket. How much money might he have?
Ben and his mum are planting garlic. Use the interactivity to help
you find out how many cloves of garlic they might have had.
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Can you work out how to balance this equaliser? You can put more
than one weight on a hook.
Place the numbers 1 to 6 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Can you find all the different triangles on these peg boards, and
find their angles?
First Connect Three game for an adult and child. Use the dice numbers and either addition or subtraction to get three numbers in a straight line.
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.
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both
sides once you've made the pieces?
How many different rhythms can you make by putting two drums on the
Ram divided 15 pennies among four small bags. He could then pay any sum of money from 1p to 15p without opening any bag. How many pennies did Ram put in each bag?
What do the numbers shaded in blue on this hundred square have in common? What do you notice about the pink numbers? How about the shaded numbers in the other squares?