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?
What is the best way to shunt these carriages so that each train
can continue its journey?
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?
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?
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?
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
Design an arrangement of display boards in the school hall which fits the requirements of different people.
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....?
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?
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these
mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
What is the smallest cuboid that you can put in this box so that
you cannot fit another that's the same into it?
How many DIFFERENT quadrilaterals can be made by joining the dots
on the 8-point circle?
Can you find all the different ways of lining up these Cuisenaire
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?
How many different triangles can you make on a circular pegboard that has nine pegs?
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?
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?
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below 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.
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a
chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
Building up a simple Celtic knot. Try the interactivity or download
the cards or have a go on squared paper.
How many different ways can you find of fitting five hexagons
together? How will you know you have found all the ways?
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both
sides once you've made the pieces?
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.
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?
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?
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?
These practical challenges are all about making a 'tray' and covering it with paper.
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?
An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.
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?
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?
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?
A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand
face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he
had just finished spelling. How did this work?
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.
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.
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?
How many triangles can you make on the 3 by 3 pegboard?
Can you put plus signs in so this is true? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 = 99
How many ways can you do it?
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 1-5 in the V shape so that both 'arms' have the same total?
An extra constraint means this Sudoku requires you to think in
diagonals as well as horizontal and vertical lines and boxes of
You have two egg timers. One takes 4 minutes exactly to empty and
the other takes 7 minutes. What times in whole minutes can you
measure and how?
A few extra challenges set by some young NRICH members.
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!
How many shapes can you build from three red and two green cubes? Can you use what you've found out to predict the number for four red and two green?