Can you shunt the trucks so that the Cattle truck and the Sheep
truck change places and the Engine is back on the main line?
Use the interactivity to play two of the bells in a pattern. How do
you know when it is your turn to ring, and how do you know which
bell to ring?
An irregular tetrahedron is composed of four different triangles.
Can such a tetrahedron be constructed where the side lengths are 4,
5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 units of length?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
10 space travellers are waiting to board their spaceships. There
are two rows of seats in the waiting room. Using the rules, where
are they all sitting? Can you find all the possible ways?
Use the interactivity to listen to the bells ringing a pattern. Now
it's your turn! Play one of the bells yourself. How do you know
when it is your turn to ring?
Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to
make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold
Can you work out how many cubes were used to make this open box? What size of open box could you make if you had 112 cubes?
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?
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
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?
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
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?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
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?
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.
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?
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
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....?
You have been given nine weights, one of which is slightly heavier
than the rest. Can you work out which weight is heavier in just two
weighings of the balance?
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
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?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both
sides once you've made the pieces?
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?
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.
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, involves open-topped boxes made with interlocking cubes. Explore the number of units of paint that are needed to cover the boxes. . . .
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
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.
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?
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?
A few extra challenges set by some young NRICH members.
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.
Many numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers. For example, 15=7+8 and 10=1+2+3+4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed in this way?
Imagine you have an unlimited number of four types of triangle. How many different tetrahedra can you make?
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?
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
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?
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!