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.
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?
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 arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
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?
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.
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.
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?"
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?
An extra constraint means this Sudoku requires you to think in diagonals as well as horizontal and vertical lines and boxes of nine.
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.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Given the products of adjacent cells, can you complete this Sudoku?
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?
Five numbers added together in pairs produce: 0, 2, 4, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15 What are the five numbers?
Find the values of the nine letters in the sum: FOOT + BALL = GAME
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?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
Rather than using the numbers 1-9, this sudoku uses the nine different letters used to make the words "Advent Calendar".
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
You need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.
Find the smallest whole number which, when mutiplied by 7, gives a product consisting entirely of ones.
Can you find six numbers to go in the Daisy from which you can make all the numbers from 1 to a number bigger than 25?
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.
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
Each clue in this Sudoku is the product of the two numbers in adjacent cells.
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?
The letters in the following addition sum represent the digits 1 ... 9. If A=3 and D=2, what number is represented by "CAYLEY"?
A few extra challenges set by some young NRICH members.
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?
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?
Bellringers have a special way to write down the patterns they ring. Learn about these patterns and draw some of your own.
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 investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
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!
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the clues to work out were each person is sitting.
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?
Given the products of diagonally opposite 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?
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
What do the numbers shaded in blue on this hundred square have in common? What do you notice about the pink numbers? How about the shaded numbers in the other squares?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.