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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Working systematically

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Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.

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Sandwiches

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Arrange the digits 1, 1, 2, 2, 3 and 3 so that between the two 1's there is one digit, between the two 2's there are two digits, and between the two 3's there are three digits.

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Introducing NRICH TWILGO

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

We're excited about this new program for drawing beautiful mathematical designs. Can you work out how we made our first few pictures and, even better, share your most elegant solutions with us?

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The Naked Pair in Sudoku

Stage: 2, 3 and 4

A particular technique for solving Sudoku puzzles, known as "naked pair", is explained in this easy-to-read article.

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Four Colours

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Kate has eight multilink cubes. She has two red ones, two yellow, two green and two blue. She wants to fit them together to make a cube so that each colour shows on each face just once.

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Intersection Sums Sudoku

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.

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Paw Prints

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Find the Difference

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Place the numbers 1 to 6 in the circles so that each number is the difference between the two numbers just below it.

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Order the Changes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you order pictures of the development of a frog from frogspawn and of a bean seed growing into a plant?

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Take Three Numbers

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What happens when you add three numbers together? Will your answer be odd or even? How do you know?

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Coded Hundred Square

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?

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Making Maths: Double-sided Magic Square

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?

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Getting the Balance

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

If you hang two weights on one side of this balance, in how many different ways can you hang three weights on the other side for it to be balanced?

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Magnetic Personality

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

60 pieces and a challenge. What can you make and how many of the pieces can you use creating skeleton polyhedra?

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Routes 1 and 5

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these operations. What number do you end on?

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Homes

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

There are to be 6 homes built on a new development site. They could be semi-detached, detached or terraced houses. How many different combinations of these can you find?

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A City of Towers

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

In this town, houses are built with one room for each person. There are some families of seven people living in the town. In how many different ways can they build their houses?

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Calcunos

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?

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Buying a Balloon

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Tessellate the Triominoes

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these two grids?

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Rabbits in the Pen

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of rabbit there are in these pens?

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Inky Cube

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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We'll Bang the Drum

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many different rhythms can you make by putting two drums on the wheel?

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Mystery Matrix

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to generate it with just one number used twice.

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Rolling That Cube

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

My cube has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has taken? What does each face look like?

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Cover the Camel

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you cover the camel with these pieces?

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Seven Flipped

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.

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Shape Times Shape

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

These eleven shapes each stand for a different number. Can you use the multiplication sums to work out what they are?

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Egyptian Rope

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Journeys in Numberland

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Tom and Ben visited Numberland. Use the maps to work out the number of points each of their routes scores.

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Growing Garlic

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Ben and his mum are planting garlic. Use the interactivity to help you find out how many cloves of garlic they might have had.

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Six Is the Sum

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?

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Calendar Cubes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the month from the 1st to the 31st.

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Polydron

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.

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Triangle Animals

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How many different ways can you find to join three equilateral triangles together? Can you convince us that you have found them all?

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Sticks and Triangles

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Using different numbers of sticks, how many different triangles are you able to make? Can you make any rules about the numbers of sticks that make the most triangles?

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Arranging the Tables

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

There are 44 people coming to a dinner party. There are 15 square tables that seat 4 people. Find a way to seat the 44 people using all 15 tables, with no empty places.

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Making Cuboids

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Let's say you can only use two different lengths - 2 units and 4 units. Using just these 2 lengths as the edges how many different cuboids can you make?

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Jumping Squares

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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.

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Pouring the Punch Drink

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

There are 4 jugs which hold 9 litres, 7 litres, 4 litres and 2 litres. Find a way to pour 9 litres of drink from one jug to another until you are left with exactly 3 litres in three of the jugs.

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2,4,6,8

Stage: 1 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Using the cards 2, 4, 6, 8, +, - and =, what number statements can you make?

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Junior Frogs

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Have a go at this well-known challenge. Can you swap the frogs and toads in as few slides and jumps as possible?

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Eight Queens

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none can capture any of the others.

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Quadrilaterals

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots on the 8-point circle?

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The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!

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Two Primes Make One Square

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you make square numbers by adding two prime numbers together?

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3 Rings

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

If you have three circular objects, you could arrange them so that they are separate, touching, overlapping or inside each other. Can you investigate all the different possibilities?

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Code Breaker

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Sealed Solution

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Ten cards are put into five envelopes so that there are two cards in each envelope. The sum of the numbers inside it is written on each envelope. What numbers could be inside the envelopes?

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Half Time

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What could the half time scores have been in these Olympic hockey matches?