The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
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 many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios or fractions.
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?
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
Label this plum tree graph to make it totally magic!
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?
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?
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?
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.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios.
Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the
surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this
The clues for this Sudoku are the product of the numbers in adjacent squares.
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?
Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they
ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.
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.
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?
You are given the Lowest Common Multiples of sets of digits. Find
the digits and then solve the Sudoku.
If you are given the mean, median and mode of five positive whole numbers, can you find the numbers?
Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!
You need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
A Sudoku with a twist.
Solve the equations to identify the clue numbers in this Sudoku 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.
How have "Warmsnug" arrived at the prices shown on their windows? Which window has been given an incorrect price?
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?
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...
The challenge is to find the values of the variables if you are to
solve this Sudoku.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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. . . .