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.
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?
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.
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
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.
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?
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.
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
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 need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.
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?
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?
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.
The idea of this game is to add or subtract the two numbers on the dice and cover the result on the grid, trying to get a line of three. Are there some numbers that are good to aim for?
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?
The letters in the following addition sum represent the digits 1 ... 9. If A=3 and D=2, what number is represented by "CAYLEY"?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
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?
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 values of the nine letters in the sum: FOOT + BALL = GAME
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.
Six friends sat around a circular table. Can you work out from the information who sat where and what their profession were?
Find the smallest whole number which, when mutiplied by 7, gives a product consisting entirely of ones.
Use the clues to work out which cities Mohamed, Sheng, Tanya and Bharat live in.
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?
An extra constraint means this Sudoku requires you to think in diagonals as well as horizontal and vertical lines and boxes of nine.
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.
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?
A few extra challenges set by some young NRICH members.
Is it possible to place 2 counters on the 3 by 3 grid so that there is an even number of counters in every row and every column? How about if you have 3 counters or 4 counters or....?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of your own.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
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.
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
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.
Can you arrange the digits 1, 1, 2, 2, 3 and 3 to make a Number Sandwich?
The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this birthday message say?
What is the smallest number of jumps needed before the white rabbits and the grey rabbits can continue along their path?
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?
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the clues to work out were each person is sitting.
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?
Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.
Each clue in this Sudoku is the product of the two numbers in adjacent cells.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
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?
Rather than using the numbers 1-9, this sudoku uses the nine different letters used to make the words "Advent Calendar".