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.
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.
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 put the 25 coloured tiles into the 5 x 5 square so that no column, no row and no diagonal line have tiles of the same colour in them?
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?
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?
You have twelve weights, one of which is different from the rest. Using just 3 weighings, can you identify which weight is the odd one out, and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest?
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.
Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?
Imagine a stack of numbered cards with one on top. Discard the top, put the next card to the bottom and repeat continuously. Can you predict the last card?
A Sudoku with a twist.
Can you recreate these designs? What are the basic units? What movement is required between each unit? Some elegant use of procedures will help - variables not essential.
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?
Four small numbers give the clue to the contents of the four surrounding cells.
A Sudoku with a twist.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
The puzzle can be solved with the help of small clue-numbers which are either placed on the border lines between selected pairs of neighbouring squares of the grid or placed after slash marks on. . . .
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.
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.
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.
This Sudoku combines all four arithmetic operations.
A pair of Sudoku puzzles that together lead to a complete solution.
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
This Sudoku requires you to do some working backwards before working forwards.
Given the nets of 4 cubes with the faces coloured in 4 colours, build a tower so that on each vertical wall no colour is repeated, that is all 4 colours appear.
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?
Solve the equations to identify the clue numbers in this Sudoku problem.
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?
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?
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?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
Given the products of adjacent cells, can you complete this Sudoku?
Label the joints and legs of these graph theory caterpillars so that the vertex sums are all equal.
A Sudoku that uses transformations as supporting clues.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios.
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?
This Sudoku puzzle can be solved with the help of small clue-numbers on the border lines between pairs of neighbouring squares of the grid.
Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary connections.
A particular technique for solving Sudoku puzzles, known as "naked pair", is explained in this easy-to-read article.
The puzzle can be solved by finding the values of the unknown digits (all indicated by asterisks) in the squares of the $9\times9$ grid.
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.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios.
A pair of Sudokus with lots in common. In fact they are the same problem but rearranged. Can you find how they relate to solve them both?
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 Sudoku, based on differences. Using the one clue number can you find the solution?
60 pieces and a challenge. What can you make and how many of the pieces can you use creating skeleton polyhedra?