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 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?
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 ...?
Use the interactivity to play two of the bells in a pattern. How do
you know when it is your turn to ring, and how do you know which
bell to ring?
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?
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?
Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they
ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.
How many models can you find which obey these rules?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
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.
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers
and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind
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.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
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?
Arrange 9 red cubes, 9 blue cubes and 9 yellow cubes into a large 3 by 3 cube. No row or column of cubes must contain two cubes of the same colour.
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?
Given the products of adjacent cells, can you complete this Sudoku?
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!
How can you arrange the 5 cubes so that you need the smallest number of Brush Loads of paint to cover them? Try with other numbers of cubes as well.
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?
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?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
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?
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!
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.
Choose four different digits from 1-9 and put one in each box so that the resulting four two-digit numbers add to a total of 100.
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.
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?
Here are four cubes joined together. How many other arrangements of four cubes can you find? Can you draw them on dotty paper?
Imagine you have an unlimited number of four types of triangle. How many different tetrahedra can you make?
A few extra challenges set by some young NRICH members.
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
Rather than using the numbers 1-9, this sudoku uses the nine
different letters used to make the words "Advent Calendar".
This second Sudoku article discusses "Corresponding Sudokus" which are pairs of Sudokus with terms that can be matched using a substitution rule.
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.
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
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
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?
This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.
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?
Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary
There are 78 prisoners in a square cell block of twelve cells. The
clever prison warder arranged them so there were 25 along each wall
of the prison block. How did he do it?
Each clue in this Sudoku is the product of the two numbers in adjacent cells.
This challenging activity involves finding different ways to distribute fifteen items among four sets, when the sets must include three, four, five and six items.
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.