The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
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?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.
How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.
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?
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?
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.
Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they
ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.
An extra constraint means this Sudoku requires you to think in
diagonals as well as horizontal and vertical lines and boxes of
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.
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
Find the values of the nine letters in the sum: FOOT + BALL = GAME
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?
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?
Charlie and Abi put a counter on 42. They wondered if they could visit all the other numbers on their 1-100 board, moving the counter using just these two operations: x2 and -5. What do you think?
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?
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
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?
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.
Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!
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.
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?
A package contains a set of resources designed to develop
students’ mathematical thinking. This package places a
particular emphasis on “being systematic” and is
designed to meet. . . .
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle
contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100
squares? Can you find them all?
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?"
Find the smallest whole number which, when mutiplied by 7, gives a
product consisting entirely of ones.
This package contains a collection of problems from the NRICH
website that could be suitable for students who have a good
understanding of Factors and Multiples and who feel ready to take
on some. . . .
The letters in the following addition sum represent the digits 1
... 9. If A=3 and D=2, what number is represented by "CAYLEY"?
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.
Five numbers added together in pairs produce: 0, 2, 4, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15 What are the five numbers?
Rather than using the numbers 1-9, this sudoku uses the nine
different letters used to make the words "Advent Calendar".
Given the products of adjacent cells, can you complete this Sudoku?
A few extra challenges set by some young NRICH members.
Four friends must cross a bridge. How can they all cross it in just 17 minutes?
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?
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both
sides once you've made the pieces?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
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.
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?
This Sudoku, based on differences. Using the one clue number can you find the solution?