Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
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?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify predictions.
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?
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?
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
Find the product of the numbers on the routes from A to B. Which route has the smallest product? Which the largest?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is between each super-eclipse?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
Use the clues to find out who's who in the family, to fill in the family tree and to find out which of the family members are mathematicians and which are not.
Can you rearrange the biscuits on the plates so that the three biscuits on each plate are all different and there is no plate with two biscuits the same as two biscuits on another plate?
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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.
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?
When intergalactic Wag Worms are born they look just like a cube. Each year they grow another cube in any direction. Find all the shapes that five-year-old Wag Worms can be.
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers? Many opportunities to work in different ways.
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.
Replace the letters with numbers to make the addition work out correctly. R E A D + T H I S = P A G E
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the clues to work out were each person is sitting.
Place eight dots on this diagram, so that there are only two dots on each straight line and only two dots on each circle.
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?
Put 10 counters in a row. Find a way to arrange the counters into five pairs, evenly spaced in a row, in just 5 moves, using the rules.
Lolla bought a balloon at the circus. She gave the clown six coins to pay for it. What could Lolla have paid for the balloon?
The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this birthday message say?
How many trapeziums, of various sizes, are hidden in this picture?
What is the smallest number of jumps needed before the white rabbits and the grey rabbits can continue along their path?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
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.
Can you create jigsaw pieces which are based on a square shape, with at least one peg and one hole?
Can you use this information to work out Charlie's house number?
I was in my car when I noticed a line of four cars on the lane next to me with number plates starting and ending with J, K, L and M. What order were they in?
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.
On my calculator I divided one whole number by another whole number and got the answer 3.125. If the numbers are both under 50, what are they?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the month from the 1st to the 31st.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of rabbit there are in these pens?
These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.
When you throw two regular, six-faced dice you have more chance of getting one particular result than any other. What result would that be? Why is this?
How could you put these three beads into bags? How many different ways can you do it? How could you record what you've done?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
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!
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?
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.
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can you find all the ways of doing this?
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?
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.