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.

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 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?

Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?

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?

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?

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?

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.

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?

A Sudoku based on clues that give the differences between adjacent cells.

Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?

A Sudoku that uses transformations as supporting clues.

If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?

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.

Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?

Many numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers. For example, 15=7+8 and 10=1+2+3+4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed in this way?

My two digit number is special because adding the sum of its digits to the product of its digits gives me my original number. What could my number be?

An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.

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

Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this sudoku.

Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.

This pair of linked Sudokus matches letters with numbers and hides a seasonal greeting. Can you find it?

Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary connections.

Charlie and Abi put a counter on 42. They wondered if they could visit all the other numbers on their 1-100 board, moving the counter using just these two operations: x2 and -5. What do you think?

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

This sudoku requires you to have "double vision" - two Sudoku's for the price of one

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.

Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary connections.

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

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

You need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.

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.

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.

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

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

Place the 16 different combinations of cup/saucer in this 4 by 4 arrangement so that no row or column contains more than one cup or saucer of the same colour.

This is a variation of sudoku which contains a set of special clue-numbers. Each set of 4 small digits stands for the numbers in the four cells of the grid adjacent to this set.

A challenging activity focusing on finding all possible ways of stacking rods.

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.

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?

This challenge extends the Plants investigation so now four or more children are involved.

Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.

Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!

Draw some isosceles triangles with an area of $9$cm$^2$ and a vertex at (20,20). If all the vertices must have whole number coordinates, how many is it possible to draw?

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?

If you are given the mean, median and mode of five positive whole numbers, can you find the numbers?