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.
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
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?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
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.
I added together some of my neighbours' house numbers. Can you explain the patterns I noticed?
Can you cover the camel with these pieces?
What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these two grids?
You have 4 red and 5 blue counters. How many ways can they be placed on a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows columns and diagonals have an even number of red counters?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
How many trains can you make which are the same length as Matt's, using rods that are identical?
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
Is it possible to place 2 counters on the 3 by 3 grid so that there is an even number of counters in every row and every column? How about if you have 3 counters or 4 counters or....?
Use the clues to colour each square.
Place the numbers 1 to 8 in the circles so that no consecutive numbers are joined by a line.
Can you work out how to balance this equaliser? You can put more than one weight on a hook.
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
Investigate the smallest number of moves it takes to turn these mats upside-down if you can only turn exactly three at a time.
Here are some rods that are different colours. How could I make a dark green rod using yellow and white rods?
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers? Many opportunities to work in different ways.
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.
Have a go at this game which has been inspired by the Big Internet Math-Off 2019. Can you gain more columns of lily pads than your opponent?
Use the information to describe these marbles. What colours must be on marbles that sparkle when rolling but are dark inside?
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.
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules, to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.
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?
Ben and his mum are planting garlic. Use the interactivity to help you find out how many cloves of garlic they might have had.
Take a rectangle of paper and fold it in half, and half again, to make four smaller rectangles. How many different ways can you fold it up?
How could you put these three beads into bags? How many different ways can you do it? How could you record what you've done?
Can you rearrange the biscuits on the plates so that the three biscuits on each plate are all different and there is no plate with two biscuits the same as two biscuits on another plate?
Use the clues to find out who's who in the family, to fill in the family tree and to find out which of the family members are mathematicians and which are not.
This 100 square jigsaw is written in code. It starts with 1 and ends with 100. Can you build it up?
Swap the stars with the moons, using only knights' moves (as on a chess board). What is the smallest number of moves possible?
In a square in which the houses are evenly spaced, numbers 3 and 10 are opposite each other. What is the smallest and what is the largest possible number of houses in the square?
10 space travellers are waiting to board their spaceships. There are two rows of seats in the waiting room. Using the rules, where are they all sitting? Can you find all the possible ways?
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.
Two children made up a game as they walked along the garden paths. Can you find out their scores? Can you find some paths of your own?
How will you go about finding all the jigsaw pieces that have one peg and one hole?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
Can you work out the arrangement of the digits in the square so that the given products are correct? The numbers 1 - 9 may be used once and once only.
My dice has inky marks on each face. Can you find the route it has taken? What does each face look like?
Moira is late for school. What is the shortest route she can take from the school gates to the entrance?
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?
Try out the lottery that is played in a far-away land. What is the chance of winning?
Can you put the numbers 1 to 8 into the circles so that the four calculations are correct?
The planet of Vuvv has seven moons. Can you work out how long it is between each super-eclipse?
My coat has three buttons. How many ways can you find to do up all the buttons?