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?
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?
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.
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.
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?
Solve the equations to identify the clue numbers in this Sudoku problem.
The challenge is to find the values of the variables if you are to
solve this Sudoku.
Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!
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?
You need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.
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?
Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary
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?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the
surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this
A Sudoku based on clues that give the differences between adjacent cells.
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 puzzle can be solved with the help of small clue-numbers on the border lines between pairs of neighbouring squares of the grid.
This pair of linked Sudokus matches letters with numbers and hides a seasonal greeting. Can you find it?
Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they
ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.
A Sudoku with a twist.
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.
A pair of Sudoku puzzles that together lead to a complete solution.
Four small numbers give the clue to the contents of the four
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. . . .
This second Sudoku article discusses "Corresponding Sudokus" which are pairs of Sudokus with terms that can be matched using a substitution rule.
Imagine you have an unlimited number of four types of triangle. How many different tetrahedra 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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
A particular technique for solving Sudoku puzzles, known as "naked pair", is explained in this easy-to-read article.
Use the clues about the shaded areas to help solve this sudoku
in how many ways can you place the numbers 1, 2, 3 … 9 in the
nine regions of the Olympic Emblem (5 overlapping circles) so that
the amount in each ring is the same?
In this Sudoku, there are three coloured "islands" in the 9x9 grid. Within each "island" EVERY group of nine cells that form a 3x3 square must contain the numbers 1 through 9.
This Sudoku combines all four arithmetic operations.
Each of the main diagonals of this sudoku must contain the numbers
1 to 9 and each rectangle width the numbers 1 to 4.
Each clue number in this sudoku is the product of the two numbers in adjacent cells.
You are given the Lowest Common Multiples of sets of digits. Find
the digits and then solve the Sudoku.
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
In this article, the NRICH team describe the process of selecting solutions for publication on the site.
If you are given the mean, median and mode of five positive whole numbers, can you find the numbers?