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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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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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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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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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Medal Muddle

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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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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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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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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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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Spot the Card

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

It is possible to identify a particular card out of a pack of 15 with the use of some mathematical reasoning. What is this reasoning and can it be applied to other numbers of cards?

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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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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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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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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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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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Oranges and Lemons, Say the Bells of St Clement's

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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

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Coins

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

A man has 5 coins in his pocket. Given the clues, can you work out what the coins are?

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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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Instant Insanity

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

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.

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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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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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Crossing the Bridge

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

Four friends must cross a bridge. How can they all cross it in just 17 minutes?

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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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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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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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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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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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Teddy Town

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

There are nine teddies in Teddy Town - three red, three blue and three yellow. There are also nine houses, three of each colour. Can you put them on the map of Teddy Town according to the rules?

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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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Wallpaper Sudoku

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

A Sudoku that uses transformations as supporting clues.

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Ratio Sudoku 1

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

A Sudoku with clues as ratios.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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Twin Corresponding Sudoku

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

This sudoku requires you to have "double vision" - two Sudoku's for the price of one

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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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Masterclass Ideas: Working Systematically

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

A package contains a set of resources designed to develop students’ mathematical thinking. This package places a particular emphasis on “being systematic” and is designed to meet. . . .

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Tetrahedra Tester

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

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?

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Bochap Sudoku

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

This Sudoku combines all four arithmetic operations.

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When Will You Pay Me? Say the Bells of Old Bailey

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

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?

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Another Quadruple Clue Sudoku

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

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.

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Colour Islands Sudoku

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

An extra constraint means this Sudoku requires you to think in diagonals as well as horizontal and vertical lines and boxes of nine.

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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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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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Gr8 Coach

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

Can you coach your rowing eight to win?

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Making Maths: Double-sided Magic Square

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

Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?

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Intersection Sudoku 1

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

A Sudoku with a twist.