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

Maths Trails

Stage: 2 and 3

The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind maths trails.

9 Weights

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Sticky Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

More Magic Potting Sheds

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Consecutive Negative Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?

Weights

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?

Consecutive Numbers

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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

Oranges and Lemons, Say the Bells of St Clement's

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.

Number Daisy

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Can you find six numbers to go in the Daisy from which you can make all the numbers from 1 to a number bigger than 25?

Two and Two

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.

Medal Muddle

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Countries from across the world competed in a sports tournament. Can you devise an efficient strategy to work out the order in which they finished?

Twinkle Twinkle

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Ben's Game

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Ben passed a third of his counters to Jack, Jack passed a quarter of his counters to Emma and Emma passed a fifth of her counters to Ben. After this they all had the same number of counters.

First Connect Three for Two

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Tetrahedra Tester

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Special Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

My two digit number is special because adding the sum of its digits to the product of its digits gives me my original number. What could my number be?

Summing Consecutive Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Rather than using the numbers 1-9, this sudoku uses the nine different letters used to make the words "Advent Calendar".

Football Sum

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Find the values of the nine letters in the sum: FOOT + BALL = GAME

A First Product Sudoku

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Given the products of adjacent cells, can you complete this Sudoku?

Making Maths: Double-sided Magic Square

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?

Pair Sums

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Five numbers added together in pairs produce: 0, 2, 4, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15 What are the five numbers?

Bochap Sudoku

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

This Sudoku combines all four arithmetic operations.

Factor Lines

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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

First Connect Three

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Colour Islands Sudoku

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Pole Star Sudoku 2

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

This Sudoku, based on differences. Using the one clue number can you find the solution?

Broken Toaster

Stage: 2 Short Challenge Level:

Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?

Cinema Problem

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Magic Potting Sheds

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Integrated Sums Sudoku

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

The puzzle can be solved with the help of small clue-numbers which are either placed on the border lines between selected pairs of neighbouring squares of the grid or placed after slash marks on. . . .

Peaches Today, Peaches Tomorrow....

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Games Related to Nim

Stage: 1, 2, 3 and 4

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.

Creating Cubes

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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.

How Old Are the Children?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?"

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

You need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.

Ones Only

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Cayley

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

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.

Fault-free Rectangles

Stage: 2 Challenge Level:

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

Colour Islands Sudoku 2

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

In this Sudoku, there are three coloured "islands" in the 9x9 grid. Within each "island" EVERY group of nine cells that form a 3x3 square must contain the numbers 1 through 9.

When Will You Pay Me? Say the Bells of Old Bailey

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Crossing the Town Square

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.

More Plant Spaces

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Inky Cube

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Button-up Some More

Stage: 2 Challenge Level:

How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?

Building with Longer Rods

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.

Product Sudoku

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

The clues for this Sudoku are the product of the numbers in adjacent squares.

Tea Cups

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

Place the 16 different combinations of cup/saucer in this 4 by 4 arrangement so that no row or column contains more than one cup or saucer of the same colour.