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?

An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.

Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?

Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?

Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?

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?

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?

How have "Warmsnug" arrived at the prices shown on their windows? Which window has been given an incorrect price?

If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?

How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.

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?

How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?

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?

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?

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.

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?

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.

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 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.

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?

Draw some isosceles triangles with an area of $9$cm$^2$ and a vertex at (20,20). If all the vertices must have whole number coordinates, how many is it possible to draw?

Use the differences to find the solution to this Sudoku.

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...

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 clues for this Sudoku are the product of the numbers in adjacent squares.

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?

If you are given the mean, median and mode of five positive whole numbers, can you find the numbers?

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.

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. . . .

Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!

This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.

This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.

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. . . .

Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.

In this article, the NRICH team describe the process of selecting solutions for publication on the site.

A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.

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.

This pair of linked Sudokus matches letters with numbers and hides a seasonal greeting. Can you find it?

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.

Explore this how this program produces the sequences it does. What are you controlling when you change the values of the variables?

60 pieces and a challenge. What can you make and how many of the pieces can you use creating skeleton polyhedra?

Can you use your powers of logic and deduction to work out the missing information in these sporty situations?

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. . . .