There are 85 NRICH Mathematical resources connected to Trial and improvement, you may find related items under Mathematical Thinking.Broad Topics > Mathematical Thinking > Trial and improvement
A cinema has 100 seats. Is it possible to fill every seat and take exactly £100?
Can you use the information to find out which cards I have used?
Factor track is not a race but a game of skill. The idea is to go round the track in as few moves as possible, keeping to the rules.
What can you say about these shapes? This problem challenges you to create shapes with different areas and perimeters.
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?
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
You have two sets of the digits 0 – 9. Can you arrange these in the five boxes to make four-digit numbers as close to the target numbers as possible?
Can you find a reliable strategy for choosing coordinates that will locate the treasure in the minimum number of guesses?
Can you see how these factor-multiple chains work? Find the chain which contains the smallest possible numbers. How about the largest possible numbers?
Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are the three numbers Jo had to start with?”
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?
If you have only 40 metres of fencing available, what is the maximum area of land you can fence off?
What is the greatest volume you can get for a rectangular (cuboid) parcel if the maximum combined length and girth are 2 metres?
How many more miles must the car travel before the numbers on the milometer and the trip meter contain the same digits in the same order?
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.
Nine squares with side lengths 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, and 18 cm can be fitted together to form a rectangle. What are the dimensions of the rectangle?
Can you make a cycle of pairs that add to make a square number using all the numbers in the box below, once and once only?
Mrs Morgan, the class's teacher, pinned numbers onto the backs of three children. Use the information to find out what the three numbers were.
Amy's mum had given her £2.50 to spend. She bought four times as many pens as pencils and was given 40p change. How many of each did she buy?
The discs for this game are kept in a flat square box with a square hole for each. Use the information to find out how many discs of each colour there are in the box.
There are lots of different methods to find out what the shapes are worth - how many can you find?
Katie had a pack of 20 cards numbered from 1 to 20. She arranged the cards into 6 unequal piles where each pile added to the same total. What was the total and how could this be done?
Find at least one way to put in some operation signs (+ - x ÷) to make these digits come to 100.
On the planet Vuv there are two sorts of creatures. The Zios have 3 legs and the Zepts have 7 legs. The great planetary explorer Nico counted 52 legs. How many Zios and how many Zepts were there?
During the third hour after midnight the hands on a clock point in the same direction (so one hand is over the top of the other). At what time, to the nearest second, does this happen?
Put operations signs between the numbers 3 4 5 6 to make the highest possible number and lowest possible number.
There are 78 prisoners in a square cell block of twelve cells. The clever prison warder arranged them so there were 25 along each wall of the prison block. How did he do it?
Complete the following expressions so that each one gives a four digit number as the product of two two digit numbers and uses the digits 1 to 8 once and only once.
There were chews for 2p, mini eggs for 3p, Chocko bars for 5p and lollypops for 7p in the sweet shop. What could each of the children buy with their money?
Use these four dominoes to make a square that has the same number of dots on each side.
Use the 'double-3 down' dominoes to make a square so that each side has eight dots.
Investigate the different ways that fifteen schools could have given money in a charity fundraiser.
Throughout these challenges, the touching faces of any adjacent dice must have the same number. Can you find a way of making the total on the top come to each number from 11 to 18 inclusive?
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
Skippy and Anna are locked in a room in a large castle. The key to that room, and all the other rooms, is a number. The numbers are locked away in a problem. Can you help them to get out?
If these balls are put on a line with each ball touching the one in front and the one behind, which arrangement makes the shortest line of balls?
Exploring balance and centres of mass can be great fun. The resulting structures can seem impossible. Here are some images to encourage you to experiment with non-breakable objects of your own.
Have a go at this well-known challenge. Can you swap the frogs and toads in as few slides and jumps as possible?
Can you guess the colours of the 10 marbles in the bag? Can you develop an effective strategy for reaching 1000 points in the least number of rounds?
Using the statements, can you work out how many of each type of rabbit there are in these pens?
Find out why these matrices are magic. Can you work out how they were made? Can you make your own Magic Matrix?
Can you beat the computer in the challenging strategy game?
Start by putting one million (1 000 000) into the display of your calculator. Can you reduce this to 7 using just the 7 key and add, subtract, multiply, divide and equals as many times as you like?
Can you draw a continuous line through 16 numbers on this grid so that the total of the numbers you pass through is as high as possible?
A dog is looking for a good place to bury his bone. Can you work out where he started and ended in each case? What possible routes could he have taken?
I was looking at the number plate of a car parked outside. Using my special code S208VBJ adds to 65. Can you crack my code and use it to find out what both of these number plates add up to?
Use the information to work out how many gifts there are in each pile.
All the girls would like a puzzle each for Christmas and all the boys would like a book each. Solve the riddle to find out how many puzzles and books Santa left.