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!
There are 4 jugs which hold 9 litres, 7 litres, 4 litres and 2
litres. Find a way to pour 9 litres of drink from one jug to
another until you are left with exactly 3 litres in three of the
Winifred Wytsh bought a box each of jelly babies, milk jelly bears,
yellow jelly bees and jelly belly beans. In how many different ways
could she make a jolly jelly feast with 32 legs?
Cherri, Saxon, Mel and Paul are friends. They are all different
ages. Can you find out the age of each friend using the
You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different
ways could you score 44?
This magic square has operations written in it, to make it into a
maze. Start wherever you like, go through every cell and go out a
total of 15!
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
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?
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?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
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?
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?
Can you arrange 5 different digits (from 0 - 9) in the cross in the
There are 44 people coming to a dinner party. There are 15 square
tables that seat 4 people. Find a way to seat the 44 people using
all 15 tables, with no empty places.
When intergalactic Wag Worms are born they look just like a cube.
Each year they grow another cube in any direction. Find all the
shapes that five-year-old Wag Worms can be.
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
Tim's class collected data about all their pets. Can you put the
animal names under each column in the block graph using the
What do you notice about the date 03.06.09? Or 08.01.09? This
challenge invites you to investigate some interesting dates
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
Alice and Brian are snails who live on a wall and can only travel
along the cracks. Alice wants to go to see Brian. How far is the
shortest route along the cracks? Is there more than one way to go?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
In this challenge, buckets come in five different sizes. If you choose some buckets, can you investigate the different ways in which they can be filled?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
Can you rearrange the biscuits on the plates so that the three
biscuits on each plate are all different and there is no plate with
two biscuits the same as two biscuits on another plate?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
On a digital 24 hour clock, at certain times, all the digits are consecutive. How many times like this are there between midnight and 7 a.m.?
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the
clues to work out were each person is sitting.
Exactly 195 digits have been used to number the pages in a book.
How many pages does the book have?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Can you use this information to work out Charlie's house number?
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?
Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
What is the smallest number of jumps needed before the white
rabbits and the grey rabbits can continue along their path?
How many trapeziums, of various sizes, are hidden in this picture?
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots
on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
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?
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
The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this
birthday message say?
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four
calculations are correct?
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which
route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
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?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
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?
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the
jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake
In the planet system of Octa the planets are arranged in the shape
of an octahedron. How many different routes could be taken to get
from Planet A to Planet Zargon?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat?
How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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.
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so
that you have double the number.