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.
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.
In this challenge, buckets come in five different sizes. If you choose some buckets, can you investigate the different ways in which they can be filled?
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?
This task depends on groups working collaboratively, discussing and reasoning to agree a final product.
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
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.
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?
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.
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
Use the interactivity to help get a feel for this problem and to find out all the possible ways the balls could land.
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 trains can you make which are the same length as Matt's, using rods that are identical?
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. . . .
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
Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!
This practical challenge invites you to investigate the different
squares you can make on a square geoboard or pegboard.
Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire
Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white 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....?
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?
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?
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
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 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?
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
During the third hour after midnight the hands on a clock point in
the same direction (so one hand is over the top of the other). At
what time, to the nearest second, does this happen?
Can you fill in the empty boxes in the grid with the right shape
There are 78 prisoners in a square cell block of twelve cells. The
clever prison warder arranged them so there were 25 along each wall
of the prison block. How did he do it?
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both
sides once you've made the pieces?
Can you put the numbers 1-5 in the V shape so that both 'arms' have the same total?
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?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
Are all the possible combinations of two shapes included in this
set of 27 cards? How do you know?
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
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?
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?
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
Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.
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?
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?
Can you find the chosen number from the grid using the clues?
There is a clock-face where the numbers have become all mixed up. Can you find out where all the numbers have got to from these ten statements?
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?
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.