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!
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
Winifred Wytsh bought a box each of jelly babies, milk jelly bears,
yellow jelly bees and jelly belly beans. In how many different ways
could she make a jolly jelly feast with 32 legs?
Cherri, Saxon, Mel and Paul are friends. They are all different
ages. Can you find out the age of each friend using the
You have 5 darts and your target score is 44. How many different
ways could you score 44?
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!
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of
rabbit there are in these pens?
You have two egg timers. One takes 4 minutes exactly to empty and
the other takes 7 minutes. What times in whole minutes can you
measure and how?
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?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square
below so that each side adds to the same total.
Zumf makes spectacles for the residents of the planet Zargon, who
have either 3 eyes or 4 eyes. How many lenses will Zumf need to
make all the different orders for 9 families?
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?
Can you arrange 5 different digits (from 0 - 9) in the cross in the
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.
On a digital 24 hour clock, at certain times, all the digits are consecutive. How many times like this are there between midnight and 7 a.m.?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
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?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the
month from the 1st to the 31st.
In a bowl there are 4 Chocolates, 3 Jellies and 5 Mints. Find a way
to share the sweets between the three children so they each get the
kind they like. Is there more than one way to do it?
What do you notice about the date 03.06.09? Or 08.01.09? This
challenge invites you to investigate some interesting dates
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?
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
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.
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
Alice and Brian are snails who live on a wall and can only travel
along the cracks. Alice wants to go to see Brian. How far is the
shortest route along the cracks? Is there more than one way to go?
Place the numbers 1 to 10 in the circles so that each number is the
difference between the two numbers just below it.
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none
can capture any of the others.
Can you use this information to work out Charlie's house number?
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?
There are seven pots of plants in a greenhouse. They have lost their labels. Perhaps you can help re-label them.
Tim's class collected data about all their pets. Can you put the
animal names under each column in the block graph using the
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other
numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
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?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is
between each super-eclipse?
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?
In the planet system of Octa the planets are arranged in the shape
of an octahedron. How many different routes could be taken to get
from Planet A to Planet Zargon?
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?
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the
jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake
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.
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.
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive
numbers are joined by a line.
Can you find which shapes you need to put into the grid to make the
totals at the end of each row and the bottom of each column?