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?
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?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
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?
How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
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?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Starting with four different triangles, imagine you have an
unlimited number of each type. How many different tetrahedra can
you make? Convince us you have found them all.
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.
Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they
ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?!
Label this plum tree graph to make it totally magic!
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?
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.
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?
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?
Play the divisibility game to create numbers in which the first two digits make a number divisible by 2, the first three digits make a number divisible by 3...
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?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
A Sudoku with clues as ratios or fractions.
Find a cuboid (with edges of integer values) that has a surface
area of exactly 100 square units. Is there more than one? Can you
find them all?
Find all the ways of placing the numbers 1 to 9 on a W shape, with
3 numbers on each leg, so that each set of 3 numbers has the same
This Sudoku, based on differences. Using the one clue number can you find the solution?
You need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.
A Sudoku with a twist.
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?
Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the
surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this
You are given the Lowest Common Multiples of sets of digits. Find
the digits and then solve the Sudoku.
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.
If you are given the mean, median and mode of five positive whole numbers, can you find the numbers?
A mathematician goes into a supermarket and buys four items. Using
a calculator she multiplies the cost instead of adding them. How
can her answer be the same as the total at the till?
The challenge is to find the values of the variables if you are to
solve this Sudoku.
Take three whole numbers. The differences between them give you
three new numbers. Find the differences between the new numbers and
keep repeating this. What happens?
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
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.
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?
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.
Solve the equations to identify the clue numbers in this Sudoku problem.
The letters in the following addition sum represent the digits 1
... 9. If A=3 and D=2, what number is represented by "CAYLEY"?
Find the values of the nine letters in the sum: FOOT + BALL = GAME
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?
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. . . .