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?
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.
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
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?
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
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?
Mr McGregor has a magic potting shed. Overnight, the number of plants in it doubles. He'd like to put the same number of plants in each of three gardens, planting one garden each day. Can he do it?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
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.
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?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this birthday message say?
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.
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the clues to work out were each person is sitting.
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.
A student in a maths class was trying to get some information from her teacher. She was given some clues and then the teacher ended by saying, "Well, how old are they?"
Find the smallest whole number which, when mutiplied by 7, gives a product consisting entirely of ones.
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
Find the sum and difference between a pair of two-digit numbers. Now find the sum and difference between the sum and difference! What happens?
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?
Six friends sat around a circular table. Can you work out from the information who sat where and what their profession were?
Can you order the digits from 1-3 to make a number which is divisible by 3 so when the last digit is removed it becomes a 2-figure number divisible by 2, and so on?
You have 4 red and 5 blue counters. How many ways can they be placed on a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows columns and diagonals have an even number of red counters?
You need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.
When newspaper pages get separated at home we have to try to sort them out and get things in the correct order. How many ways can we arrange these pages so that the numbering may be different?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
Can you find six numbers to go in the Daisy from which you can make all the numbers from 1 to a number bigger than 25?
What is the smallest number of jumps needed before the white rabbits and the grey rabbits can continue along their path?
Given the products of adjacent cells, can you complete this Sudoku?
A Sudoku that uses transformations as supporting clues.
You cannot choose a selection of ice cream flavours that includes totally what someone has already chosen. Have a go and find all the different ways in which seven children can have ice cream.
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
Nina must cook some pasta for 15 minutes but she only has a 7-minute sand-timer and an 11-minute sand-timer. How can she use these timers to measure exactly 15 minutes?
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?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?
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?
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake bar?
Given the products of diagonally opposite cells - can you complete this Sudoku?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the month from the 1st to the 31st.
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
There is a clock-face where the numbers have become all mixed up. Can you find out where all the numbers have got to from these ten statements?
In this matching game, you have to decide how long different events take.
The Vikings communicated in writing by making simple scratches on wood or stones called runes. Can you work out how their code works using the table of the alphabet?
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.
What do the numbers shaded in blue on this hundred square have in common? What do you notice about the pink numbers? How about the shaded numbers in the other squares?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
A few extra challenges set by some young NRICH members.