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.
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?
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.
There is a long tradition of creating mazes throughout history and across the world. This article gives details of mazes you can visit and those that you can tackle on paper.
Imagine a stack of numbered cards with one on top. Discard the top,
put the next card to the bottom and repeat continuously. Can you
predict the last card?
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?
Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!
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?
A pair of Sudoku puzzles that together lead to a complete solution.
Can you recreate these designs? What are the basic units? What
movement is required between each unit? Some elegant use of
procedures will help - variables not essential.
Use the differences to find the solution to this Sudoku.
Four small numbers give the clue to the contents of the four
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?
We're excited about this new program for drawing beautiful mathematical designs. Can you work out how we made our first few pictures and, even better, share your most elegant solutions with us?
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?
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
Can you use your powers of logic and deduction to work out the missing information in these sporty situations?
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?
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.
A particular technique for solving Sudoku puzzles, known as "naked pair", is explained in this easy-to-read article.
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
60 pieces and a challenge. What can you make and how many of the
pieces can you use creating skeleton polyhedra?
Just four procedures were used to produce a design. How was it
done? Can you be systematic and elegant so that someone can follow
If you take a three by three square on a 1-10 addition square and
multiply the diagonally opposite numbers together, what is the
difference between these products. Why?
In this article, the NRICH team describe the process of selecting solutions for publication on the site.
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?
A Sudoku with clues as ratios.
Use the clues about the shaded areas to help solve this sudoku
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.
Given the products of adjacent cells, can you complete this Sudoku?
Place the 16 different combinations of cup/saucer in this 4 by 4 arrangement so that no row or column contains more than one cup or saucer of the same colour.
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
Rather than using the numbers 1-9, this sudoku uses the nine
different letters used to make the words "Advent Calendar".
You need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.
Explore this how this program produces the sequences it does. What
are you controlling when you change the values of the variables?
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.
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.
Each of the main diagonals of this sudoku must contain the numbers
1 to 9 and each rectangle width the numbers 1 to 4.
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 puzzle can be solved by finding the values of the unknown digits (all indicated by asterisks) in the squares of the $9\times9$ grid.
An extra constraint means this Sudoku requires you to think in
diagonals as well as horizontal and vertical lines and boxes of
Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the
surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this
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.
You are given the Lowest Common Multiples of sets of digits. Find
the digits and then solve the Sudoku.
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.
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both
sides once you've made the pieces?
This Sudoku combines all four arithmetic operations.