This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Use the information to describe these marbles. What colours must be
on marbles that sparkle when rolling but are dark inside?
A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.
Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!
El Crico the cricket has to cross a square patio to get home. He
can jump the length of one tile, two tiles and three tiles. Can you
find a path that would get El Crico home in three jumps?
There are 44 people coming to a dinner party. There are 15 square
tables that seat 4 people. Find a way to seat the 44 people using
all 15 tables, with no empty places.
Start with three pairs of socks. Now mix them up so that no
mismatched pair is the same as another mismatched pair. Is there
more than one way to do it?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
This magic square has operations written in it, to make it into a
maze. Start wherever you like, go through every cell and go out a
total of 15!
In how many ways could Mrs Beeswax put ten coins into her three
puddings so that each pudding ended up with at least two coins?
This activity investigates how you might make squares and pentominoes from Polydron.
Chandra, Jane, Terry and Harry ordered their lunches from the
sandwich shop. Use the information below to find out who ordered
Systematically explore the range of symmetric designs that can be
created by shading parts of the motif below. Use normal square
lattice paper to record your results.
Can you put plus signs in so this is true? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 = 99
How many ways can you do it?
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
My briefcase has a three-number combination lock, but I have
forgotten the combination. I remember that there's a 3, a 5 and an
8. How many possible combinations are there to try?
Ben and his mum are planting garlic. Use the interactivity to help
you find out how many cloves of garlic they might have had.
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?
Using the cards 2, 4, 6, 8, +, - and =, what number statements can
Investigate all the different squares you can make on this 5 by 5 grid by making your starting side go from the bottom left hand point. Can you find out the areas of all these squares?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
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.
Seven friends went to a fun fair with lots of scary rides. They
decided to pair up for rides until each friend had ridden once with
each of the others. What was the total number rides?
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers?
A game for 2 people. Take turns placing a counter on the star. You win when you have completed a line of 3 in your colour.
Imagine that the puzzle pieces of a jigsaw are roughly a
rectangular shape and all the same size. How many different puzzle
pieces could there be?
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 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!
There are 4 jugs which hold 9 litres, 7 litres, 4 litres and 2
litres. Find a way to pour 9 litres of drink from one jug to
another until you are left with exactly 3 litres in three of the
This challenge is to design different step arrangements, which must
go along a distance of 6 on the steps and must end up at 6 high.
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.
What is the greatest number of counters you can place on the grid below without four of them lying at the corners of a square?
Look carefully at the numbers. What do you notice? Can you make
another square using the numbers 1 to 16, that displays the same
Move from the START to the FINISH by moving across or down to the
next square. Can you find a route to make these totals?
This challenge is about finding the difference between numbers which have the same tens digit.
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
In this problem it is not the squares that jump, you do the jumping! The idea is to go round the track in as few jumps as possible.
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Can you see who the gold medal winner is? What about the silver medal winner and the bronze medal winner?
Try this matching game which will help you recognise different ways of saying the same time interval.
What two-digit numbers can you make with these two dice? What can't you make?
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so if you work in a systematic way, you won't leave any out.
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.