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

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Twinkle Twinkle

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

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.

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First Connect Three

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

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?

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Teddy Town

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

There are nine teddies in Teddy Town - three red, three blue and three yellow. There are also nine houses, three of each colour. Can you put them on the map of Teddy Town according to the rules?

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Three by Three

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

Arrange 3 red, 3 blue and 3 yellow counters into a three-by-three square grid, so that there is only one of each colour in every row and every column

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Magic Potting Sheds

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

Mr McGregor has a magic potting shed. Overnight, the number of plants in it doubles. He'd like to put the same number of plants in each of three gardens, planting one garden each day. Can he do it?

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Cayley

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

The letters in the following addition sum represent the digits 1 ... 9. If A=3 and D=2, what number is represented by "CAYLEY"?

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Factor Lines

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

Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.

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Three Way Mix Up

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

Jack has nine tiles. He put them together to make a square so that two tiles of the same colour were not beside each other. Can you find another way to do it?

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First Connect Three for Two

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

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.

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Team Scream

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

Seven friends went to a fun fair with lots of scary rides. They decided to pair up for rides until each friend had ridden once with each of the others. What was the total number rides?

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Make Pairs

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

Put 10 counters in a row. Find a way to arrange the counters into five pairs, evenly spaced in a row, in just 5 moves, using the rules.

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Fault-free Rectangles

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

Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of your own.

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Creating Cubes

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

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.

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More Magic Potting Sheds

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

The number of plants in Mr McGregor's magic potting shed increases overnight. He'd like to put the same number of plants in each of his gardens, planting one garden each day. How can he do it?

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Centred Squares

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

This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.

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Colour Islands Sudoku

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

An extra constraint means this Sudoku requires you to think in diagonals as well as horizontal and vertical lines and boxes of nine.

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Seating Arrangements

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the clues to work out were each person is sitting.

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Two Dots

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.

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Build it Up

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers?

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Multiply the Addition Square

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

If you take a three by three square on a 1-10 addition square and multiply the diagonally opposite numbers together, what is the difference between these products. Why?

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Multiples Sudoku

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Each clue in this Sudoku is the product of the two numbers in adjacent cells.

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Sticky Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?

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Professional Circles

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

Six friends sat around a circular table. Can you work out from the information who sat where and what their profession were?

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Ones Only

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

Find the smallest whole number which, when mutiplied by 7, gives a product consisting entirely of ones.

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Newspapers

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

When newspaper pages get separated at home we have to try to sort them out and get things in the correct order. How many ways can we arrange these pages so that the numbering may be different?

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Chocs, Mints, Jellies

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

In a bowl there are 4 Chocolates, 3 Jellies and 5 Mints. Find a way to share the sweets between the three children so they each get the kind they like. Is there more than one way to do it?

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Bunny Hop

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What is the smallest number of jumps needed before the white rabbits and the grey rabbits can continue along their path?

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More on Mazes

Stage: 2 and 3

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.

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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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Prison Cells

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

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?

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Crack the Code

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this birthday message say?

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Polo Square

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square below so that each side adds to the same total.

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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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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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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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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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The Problem-solving Classroom

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

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Pasta Timing

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Nina must cook some pasta for 15 minutes but she only has a 7-minute sand-timer and an 11-minute sand-timer. How can she use these timers to measure exactly 15 minutes?

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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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Whose Face?

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

These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.

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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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Counting on Letters

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

The letters of the word ABACUS have been arranged in the shape of a triangle. How many different ways can you find to read the word ABACUS from this triangular pattern?

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Fake Gold

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake bar?

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Multiples Grid

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

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?

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Extra Challenges from Madras

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

A few extra challenges set by some young NRICH members.

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Cinema Problem

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A cinema has 100 seats. Show how it is possible to sell exactly 100 tickets and take exactly £100 if the prices are £10 for adults, 50p for pensioners and 10p for children.

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Zargon Glasses

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

Zumf makes spectacles for the residents of the planet Zargon, who have either 3 eyes or 4 eyes. How many lenses will Zumf need to make all the different orders for 9 families?

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How Old Are the Children?

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

A student in a maths class was trying to get some information from her teacher. She was given some clues and then the teacher ended by saying, "Well, how old are they?"

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Peaches Today, Peaches Tomorrow....

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

Whenever a monkey has peaches, he always keeps a fraction of them each day, gives the rest away, and then eats one. How long could he make his peaches last for?

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Chocoholics

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

George and Jim want to buy a chocolate bar. George needs 2p more and Jim need 50p more to buy it. How much is the chocolate bar?