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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Working systematically

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Peaches Today, Peaches Tomorrow....

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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How Old Are the Children?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?"

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Ben's Game

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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.

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When Will You Pay Me? Say the Bells of Old Bailey

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Cuboids

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Find a cuboid (with edges of integer values) that has a surface area of exactly 100 square units. Is there more than one? Can you find them all?

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9 Weights

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Factor Lines

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.

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Squares in Rectangles

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100 squares? Can you find them all?

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Twinkle Twinkle

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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.

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A First Product Sudoku

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Given the products of adjacent cells, can you complete this Sudoku?

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Tetrahedra Tester

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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You Owe Me Five Farthings, Say the Bells of St Martin's

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Mystery Matrix

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you fill in this table square? The numbers 2 -12 were used to generate it with just one number used twice.

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Sweets in a Box

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many different shaped boxes can you design for 36 sweets in one layer? Can you arrange the sweets so that no sweets of the same colour are next to each other in any direction?

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A-magical Number Maze

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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!

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Product Sudoku

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

The clues for this Sudoku are the product of the numbers in adjacent squares.

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The Problem-solving Classroom

Stage: 1 and 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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Ancient Runes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Calendar Cubes

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the month from the 1st to the 31st.

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Counting on Letters

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Diagonal Product Sudoku

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Given the products of diagonally opposite cells - can you complete this Sudoku?

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Calcunos

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?

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Ice Cream

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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.

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Magic Potting Sheds

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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Games Related to Nim

Stage: 1, 2, 3 and 4

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.

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More Magic Potting Sheds

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Maths Trails

Stage: 2 and 3

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.

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Seating Arrangements

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the clues to work out were each person is sitting.

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Crack the Code

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this birthday message say?

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Team Scream

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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?

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The Moons of Vuvv

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is between each super-eclipse?

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Multiplication Squares

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you work out the arrangement of the digits in the square so that the given products are correct? The numbers 1 - 9 may be used once and once only.

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It Figures

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and multiply them together. How many different products can you find? How do you know you've got them all?

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Advent Sudoku

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Rather than using the numbers 1-9, this sudoku uses the nine different letters used to make the words "Advent Calendar".

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Pasta Timing

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Oranges and Lemons, Say the Bells of St Clement's

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.

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Extra Challenges from Madras

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

A few extra challenges set by some young NRICH members.

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Corresponding Sudokus

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

This second Sudoku article discusses "Corresponding Sudokus" which are pairs of Sudokus with terms that can be matched using a substitution rule.

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The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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!

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Fake Gold

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Latin Squares

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

A Latin square of order n is an array of n symbols in which each symbol occurs exactly once in each row and exactly once in each column.

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Inky Cube

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Finding All Possibilities Upper Primary

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.

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Crossing the Town Square

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.

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Ordered Ways of Working Upper Primary

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.

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Button-up Some More

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?

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Shady Symmetry

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?

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Curious Number

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Ordered Ways of Working Upper Primary

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.

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This Pied Piper of Hamelin

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!