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

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?

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?

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 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.

Take three whole numbers. The differences between them give you three new numbers. Find the differences between the new numbers and keep repeating this. What happens?

Use the clues about the shaded areas to help solve this sudoku

Solve the equations to identify the clue numbers in this Sudoku problem.

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

The challenge is to find the values of the variables if you are to solve this Sudoku.

A particular technique for solving Sudoku puzzles, known as "naked pair", is explained in this easy-to-read article.

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.

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?

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.

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

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

A Latin square of order n is an array of n symbols in which each symbol occurs exactly once in each row and exactly once in each column.

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?

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. . . .

60 pieces and a challenge. What can you make and how many of the pieces can you use creating skeleton polyhedra?

Special clue numbers related to the difference between numbers in two adjacent cells and values of the stars in the "constellation" make this a doubly interesting problem.

You are given the Lowest Common Multiples of sets of digits. Find the digits and then solve the Sudoku.

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

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?

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.

Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.

in how many ways can you place the numbers 1, 2, 3 … 9 in the nine regions of the Olympic Emblem (5 overlapping circles) so that the amount in each ring is the same?

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.

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?

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 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.

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

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

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?

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?

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?

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...

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

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

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

A pair of Sudoku puzzles that together lead to a complete solution.

Explore this how this program produces the sequences it does. What are you controlling when you change the values of the variables?

Just four procedures were used to produce a design. How was it done? Can you be systematic and elegant so that someone can follow your logic?