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 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.
How many triangles can you make using sticks that are 3cm, 4cm and 5cm long?
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.
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
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 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?
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?
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the
numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
Try out the lottery that is played in a far-away land. What is the
chance of winning?
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 challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
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 tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
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?
Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white rods?
Have a go at this well-known challenge. Can you swap the frogs and toads in as few slides and jumps as possible?
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?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
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.
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
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.
Can you find all the different triangles on these peg boards, and
find their angles?
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
How many different triangles can you draw on the dotty grid which each have one dot in the middle?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
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.
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the
site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to
develop the skills of strategic planning.
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?
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
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.
Use the interactivity to help get a feel for this problem and to find out all the possible ways the balls could land.
How many trains can you make which are the same length as Matt's, using rods that are identical?
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both
sides once you've made the pieces?
Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire
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?
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
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?
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?
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?
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
In this matching game, you have to decide how long different events take.
Place six toy ladybirds into the box so that there are two ladybirds in every column and every row.
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
Try this matching game which will help you recognise different ways of saying the same time interval.