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?

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?

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.

The challenge is to find the values of the variables if you are to solve this Sudoku.

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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.

Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.

You need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.

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

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?

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?

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.

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

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.

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

Solve the equations to identify the clue numbers in this Sudoku problem.

You are given the Lowest Common Multiples of sets of digits. Find the digits and then solve the Sudoku.

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?

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 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?

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?

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 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?

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

A pair of Sudoku puzzles that together lead to a complete solution.

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?

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

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...

Use the differences to find the solution to this Sudoku.

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

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

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.

Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary connections.

Each clue number in this sudoku is the product of the two numbers in adjacent cells.

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, based on differences. Using the one clue number can you find the solution?

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

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.

Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary connections.

Each of the main diagonals of this sudoku must contain the numbers 1 to 9 and each rectangle width the numbers 1 to 4.