Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?
You have twelve weights, one of which is different from the rest.
Using just 3 weighings, can you identify which weight is the odd
one out, and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest?
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?
The challenge is to find the values of the variables if you are to
solve this Sudoku.
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
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.
Four friends must cross a bridge. How can they all cross it in just 17 minutes?
A Sudoku with a twist.
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.
This is a variation of sudoku which contains a set of special clue-numbers. Each set of 4 small digits stands for the numbers in the four cells of the grid adjacent to this set.
You are given the Lowest Common Multiples of sets of digits. Find
the digits and then solve the Sudoku.
The letters in the following addition sum represent the digits 1
... 9. If A=3 and D=2, what number is represented by "CAYLEY"?
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?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
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?
Special clue numbers related to the difference between numbers in
two adjacent cells and values of the stars in the "constellation"
make this a doubly interesting problem.
This Sudoku, based on differences. Using the one clue number can you find the solution?
Can you put the 25 coloured tiles into the 5 x 5 square so that no column, no row and no diagonal line have tiles of the same colour in them?
Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the
surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this
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.
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.
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems
give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical
concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!
Given the nets of 4 cubes with the faces coloured in 4 colours, build a tower so that on each vertical wall no colour is repeated, that is all 4 colours appear.
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.
Solve the equations to identify the clue numbers in this Sudoku problem.
Label this plum tree graph to make it totally magic!
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.
A man has 5 coins in his pocket. Given the clues, can you work out
what the coins are?
Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they
ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.
A Latin square of order n is an array of n symbols in which each symbol occurs exactly once in each row and exactly once in each column.
Arrange the digits 1, 1, 2, 2, 3 and 3 so that between the two 1's
there is one digit, between the two 2's there are two digits, and
between the two 3's there are three digits.
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?
You need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.
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?
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
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?
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?
A Sudoku with clues as ratios.
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. . . .
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.
60 pieces and a challenge. What can you make and how many of the
pieces can you use creating skeleton polyhedra?
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.
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
Explore this how this program produces the sequences it does. What
are you controlling when you change the values of the variables?
This pair of linked Sudokus matches letters with numbers and hides a seasonal greeting. Can you find it?
Just four procedures were used to produce a design. How was it
done? Can you be systematic and elegant so that someone can follow
Use the differences to find the solution to this Sudoku.