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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Working systematically

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Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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.

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Twin Line-swapping Sudoku

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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

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Counting on Letters

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

The letters of the word ABACUS have been arranged in the shape of a triangle. How many different ways can you find to read the word ABACUS from this triangular pattern?

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Difference Sudoku

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Use the differences to find the solution to this Sudoku.

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LOGO Challenge - Triangles-squares-stars

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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.

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Pole Star Sudoku 2

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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

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9 Weights

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Quadruple Sudoku

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Four small numbers give the clue to the contents of the four surrounding cells.

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The Naked Pair in Sudoku

Stage: 2, 3 and 4

A particular technique for solving Sudoku puzzles, known as "naked pair", is explained in this easy-to-read article.

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More on Mazes

Stage: 2 and 3

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.

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Olympic Logic

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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

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Magic Caterpillars

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Label the joints and legs of these graph theory caterpillars so that the vertex sums are all equal.

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Crossing the Town Square

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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

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Introducing NRICH TWILGO

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Gr8 Coach

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you coach your rowing eight to win?

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One Out One Under

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Integrated Sums Sudoku

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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. . . .

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Intersection Sudoku 1

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

A Sudoku with a twist.

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An Introduction to Magic Squares

Stage: 1, 2, 3 and 4

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

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Ratio Sudoku 2

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A Sudoku with clues as ratios.

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Peaches Today, Peaches Tomorrow....

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Cinema Problem

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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.

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Advent Sudoku

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Rather than using the numbers 1-9, this sudoku uses the nine different letters used to make the words "Advent Calendar".

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A First Product Sudoku

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Given the products of adjacent cells, can you complete this Sudoku?

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Weights

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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

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Tea Cups

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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.

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Addition Equation Sudoku

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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

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Latin Squares

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

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.

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LOGO Challenge - the Logic of LOGO

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Just four procedures were used to produce a design. How was it done? Can you be systematic and elegant so that someone can follow your logic?

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Seasonal Twin Sudokus

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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

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Isosceles Triangles

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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LOGO Challenge - Sequences and Pentagrams

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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

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Magnetic Personality

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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

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Twin Corresponding Sudokus II

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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

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Multiply the Addition Square

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Sticky Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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

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Rainstorm Sudoku

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Use the clues about the shaded areas to help solve this sudoku

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Rectangle Outline Sudoku

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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

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Twin Corresponding Sudoku III

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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

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Shady Symmetry

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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

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Difference Dynamics

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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First Connect Three for Two

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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.

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Inky Cube

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

This cube has ink on each face which leaves marks on paper as it is rolled. Can you work out what is on each face and the route it has taken?

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Bent Out of Shape

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

An introduction to bond angle geometry.

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Sociable Cards

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Move your counters through this snake of cards and see how far you can go. Are you surprised by where you end up?

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Product Doubles Sudoku

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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

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Colour Islands Sudoku 2

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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.

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Consecutive Negative Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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

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Quadruple Clue Sudoku

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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.

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Integrated Product Sudoku

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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.