Bernard Bagnall looks at what 'problem solving' might really mean in the context of primary classrooms.

Here are many ideas for you to investigate - all linked with the number 2000.

Investigate the numbers that come up on a die as you roll it in the direction of north, south, east and west, without going over the path it's already made.

Investigate the area of 'slices' cut off this cube of cheese. What would happen if you had different-sized block of cheese to start with?

Can you make these equilateral triangles fit together to cover the paper without any gaps between them? Can you tessellate isosceles triangles?

Investigate what happens when you add house numbers along a street in different ways.

In my local town there are three supermarkets which each has a special deal on some products. If you bought all your shopping in one shop, where would be the cheapest?

If I use 12 green tiles to represent my lawn, how many different ways could I arrange them? How many border tiles would I need each time?

Investigate and explain the patterns that you see from recording just the units digits of numbers in the times tables.

In this section from a calendar, put a square box around the 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th. Add all the pairs of numbers. What do you notice about the answers?

Bernard Bagnall describes how to get more out of some favourite NRICH investigations.

While we were sorting some papers we found 3 strange sheets which seemed to come from small books but there were page numbers at the foot of each page. Did the pages come from the same book?

Investigate the different ways these aliens count in this challenge. You could start by thinking about how each of them would write our number 7.

Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?

Can you find out how the 6-triangle shape is transformed in these tessellations? Will the tessellations go on for ever? Why or why not?

Take a look at these data collected by children in 1986 as part of the Domesday Project. What do they tell you? What do you think about the way they are presented?

Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.

Why does the tower look a different size in each of these pictures?

This challenge asks you to investigate the total number of cards that would be sent if four children send one to all three others. How many would be sent if there were five children? Six?

Investigate these hexagons drawn from different sized equilateral triangles.

Follow the directions for circling numbers in the matrix. Add all the circled numbers together. Note your answer. Try again with a different starting number. What do you notice?

Here is your chance to investigate the number 28 using shapes, cubes ... in fact anything at all.

This activity asks you to collect information about the birds you see in the garden. Are there patterns in the data or do the birds seem to visit randomly?

Start with four numbers at the corners of a square and put the total of two corners in the middle of that side. Keep going... Can you estimate what the size of the last four numbers will be?

What is the largest cuboid you can wrap in an A3 sheet of paper?

Well now, what would happen if we lost all the nines in our number system? Have a go at writing the numbers out in this way and have a look at the multiplications table.

In this investigation we are going to count the number of 1s, 2s, 3s etc in numbers. Can you predict what will happen?

Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.

This challenge asks you to investigate the total number of cards that would be sent if four children send one to all three others. How many would be sent if there were five children? Six?

Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in Cambridge.

Explore ways of colouring this set of triangles. Can you make symmetrical patterns?

An activity making various patterns with 2 x 1 rectangular tiles.

Let's suppose that you are going to have a magazine which has 16 pages of A5 size. Can you find some different ways to make these pages? Investigate the pattern for each if you number the pages.

In this investigation, you are challenged to make mobile phone numbers which are easy to remember. What happens if you make a sequence adding 2 each time?

What is the smallest number of tiles needed to tile this patio? Can you investigate patios of different sizes?

The red ring is inside the blue ring in this picture. Can you rearrange the rings in different ways? Perhaps you can overlap them or put one outside another?

The challenge here is to find as many routes as you can for a fence to go so that this town is divided up into two halves, each with 8 blocks.

Let's say you can only use two different lengths - 2 units and 4 units. Using just these 2 lengths as the edges how many different cuboids can you make?

Investigate the different ways you could split up these rooms so that you have double the number.

Cut differently-sized square corners from a square piece of paper to make boxes without lids. Do they all have the same volume?

Take 5 cubes of one colour and 2 of another colour. How many different ways can you join them if the 5 must touch the table and the 2 must not touch the table?

I like to walk along the cracks of the paving stones, but not the outside edge of the path itself. How many different routes can you find for me to take?

Can you design a new shape for the twenty-eight squares and arrange the numbers in a logical way? What patterns do you notice?

This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!

In this article for teachers, Bernard gives an example of taking an initial activity and getting questions going that lead to other explorations.

Explore the different tunes you can make with these five gourds. What are the similarities and differences between the two tunes you are given?

If you have three circular objects, you could arrange them so that they are separate, touching, overlapping or inside each other. Can you investigate all the different possibilities?

When Charlie asked his grandmother how old she is, he didn't get a straightforward reply! Can you work out how old she is?