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.
This article for teachers suggests activities based on pegboards, from pattern generation to finding all possible triangles, for example.
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.
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.
In this problem it is not the squares that jump, you do the jumping! The idea is to go round the track in as few jumps as possible.
Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white rods?
These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.
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.
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?
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?
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?
A package contains a set of resources designed to develop
students’ mathematical thinking. This package places a
particular emphasis on “being systematic” and is
designed to meet. . . .
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?
Exactly 195 digits have been used to number the pages in a book.
How many pages does the book have?
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....?
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
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.
In the multiplication calculation, some of the digits have been replaced by letters and others by asterisks. Can you reconstruct the original multiplication?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
Have a go at this well-known challenge. Can you swap the frogs and toads in as few slides and jumps as possible?
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?
Can you replace the letters with numbers? Is there only one
solution in each case?
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
In how many ways could Mrs Beeswax put ten coins into her three
puddings so that each pudding ended up with at least two coins?
This problem is based on a code using two different prime numbers
less than 10. You'll need to multiply them together and shift the
alphabet forwards by the result. Can you decipher the code?
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
Can you find all the different triangles on these peg boards, and
find their angles?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both
sides once you've made the pieces?
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.
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
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 put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10
are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the
largest possible number of houses in the square?
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.
Use the interactivity to help get a feel for this problem and to find out all the possible ways the balls could land.
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.
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these
How many trains can you make which are the same length as Matt's, using rods that are identical?
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?
How many different triangles can you draw on the dotty grid which each have one dot in the middle?
Can you substitute numbers for the letters in these sums?
Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.