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.
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?
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?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
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?
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.
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?
How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.
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.
Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!
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?
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?
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?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
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?
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?
Label this plum tree graph to make it totally magic!
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?
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
A pair of Sudokus with lots in common. In fact they are the same problem but rearranged. Can you find how they relate to solve them both?
Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this sudoku.
The clues for this Sudoku are the product of the numbers in adjacent squares.
This Sudoku, based on differences. Using the one clue number can you find the solution?
A Sudoku with clues as ratios or fractions.
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 total.
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.
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.
A pair of Sudoku puzzles that together lead to a complete solution.
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?
The letters in the following addition sum represent the digits 1 ... 9. If A=3 and D=2, what number is represented by "CAYLEY"?
A Sudoku with a twist.
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?
The challenge is to find the values of the variables if you are to solve this Sudoku.
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?
Find the values of the nine letters in the sum: FOOT + BALL = GAME
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?
Solve the equations to identify the clue numbers in this Sudoku problem.
Use the clues about the shaded areas to help solve this sudoku
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?