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 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?

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?

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

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?

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?

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

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

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

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?

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?

How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.

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

Imagine you have an unlimited number of four types of triangle. How many different tetrahedra can you make?

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?

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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?

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

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?

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.

Play the divisibility game to create numbers in which the first two digits make a number divisible by 2, the first three digits make a number divisible by 3...

Four small numbers give the clue to the contents of the four surrounding cells.

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.

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

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

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?

Each of the main diagonals of this sudoku must contain the numbers 1 to 9 and each rectangle width the numbers 1 to 4.

Each clue in this Sudoku is the product of the two numbers in adjacent cells.

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.

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

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

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.

In this Sudoku, there are three coloured "islands" in the 9x9 grid. Within each "island" EVERY group of nine cells that form a 3x3 square must contain the numbers 1 through 9.

Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?