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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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Today's Date - 01/06/2009

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

What do you notice about the date 03.06.09? Or 08.01.09? This challenge invites you to investigate some interesting dates yourself.

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How Much Did it Cost?

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

Use your logical-thinking skills to deduce how much Dan's crisps and ice-cream cost altogether.

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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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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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I've Submitted a Solution - What Next?

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

In this article, the NRICH team describe the process of selecting solutions for publication on the site.

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Twenty Divided Into Six

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

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?

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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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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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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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Two on Five

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

Take 5 cubes of one colour and 2 of another colour. How many different ways can you join them if the 5 must touch the table and the 2 must not touch the table?

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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?

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Bean Bags for Bernard's Bag

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

How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can you find all the ways of doing this?

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Prompt Cards

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

These two group activities use mathematical reasoning - one is numerical, one geometric.

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Ice Cream

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

You cannot choose a selection of ice cream flavours that includes totally what someone has already chosen. Have a go and find all the different ways in which seven children can have ice cream.

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Dienes' Logiblocs

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

This problem focuses on Dienes' Logiblocs. What is the same and what is different about these pairs of shapes? Can you describe the shapes in the picture?

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Consecutive Numbers

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.

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Room Doubling

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

Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so that you have double the number.

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It Figures

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

Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and multiply them together. How many different products can you find? How do you know you've got them all?

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Fifteen Cards

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you use the information to find out which cards I have used?

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Ladybirds in the Garden

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

In Sam and Jill's garden there are two sorts of ladybirds with 7 spots or 4 spots. What numbers of total spots can you make?

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Route Product

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

Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which route has the smallest product? Which the largest?

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Building with Rods

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

In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?

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Reach 100

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

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.

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A Square of Numbers

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four calculations are correct?

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Colour in the Square

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

Can you put the 25 coloured tiles into the 5 x 5 square so that no column, no row and no diagonal line have tiles of the same colour in them?

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Inside Triangles

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

How many different triangles can you draw on the dotty grid which each have one dot in the middle?

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Worms

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

Place this "worm" on the 100 square and find the total of the four squares it covers. Keeping its head in the same place, what other totals can you make?

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Here to There 1 2 3

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

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?

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Square Corners

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

What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?

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Five Coins

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

Ben has five coins in his pocket. How much money might he have?

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Counters

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

Hover your mouse over the counters to see which ones will be removed. Click to remover them. The winner is the last one to remove a counter. How you can make sure you win?

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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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A-magical Number Maze

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

This magic square has operations written in it, to make it into a maze. Start wherever you like, go through every cell and go out a total of 15!

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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?