This problem is based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
You cannot choose a selection of ice cream flavours that includes totally what someone has already chosen. Have a go and find all the different ways in which seven children can have ice cream.
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps if you have an ordered approach.
If these elves wear a different outfit every day for as many days as possible, how many days can their fun last?
Make a pair of cubes that can be moved to show all the days of the month from the 1st to the 31st.
If we had 16 light bars which digital numbers could we make? How will you know you've found them all?
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so if you work in a systematic way, you won't leave any out.
These are the faces of Will, Lil, Bill, Phil and Jill. Use the clues to work out which name goes with each face.
A merchant brings four bars of gold to a jeweller. How can the jeweller use the scales just twice to identify the lighter, fake bar?
How could you put eight beanbags in the hoops so that there are four in the blue hoop, five in the red and six in the yellow? Can you find all the ways of doing this?
Nina must cook some pasta for 15 minutes but she only has a 7-minute sand-timer and an 11-minute sand-timer. How can she use these timers to measure exactly 15 minutes?
Use the clues to work out which cities Mohamed, Sheng, Tanya and Bharat live in.
Suppose we allow ourselves to use three numbers less than 10 and multiply them together. How many different products can you find? How do you know you've got them all?
The Vikings communicated in writing by making simple scratches on wood or stones called runes. Can you work out how their code works using the table of the alphabet?
These activities focus on finding all possible solutions so working in a systematic way will ensure none are left out.
Six friends sat around a circular table. Can you work out from the information who sat where and what their profession were?
When newspaper pages get separated at home we have to try to sort them out and get things in the correct order. How many ways can we arrange these pages so that the numbering may be different?
These activities lend themselves to systematic working in the sense that it helps to have an ordered approach.
Can you create jigsaw pieces which are based on a square shape, with at least one peg and one hole?
Investigate the different numbers of people and rats there could have been if you know how many legs there are altogether!
What is the smallest number of jumps needed before the white rabbits and the grey rabbits can continue along their path?
This article for primary teachers suggests ways in which to help children become better at working systematically.
The Zargoes use almost the same alphabet as English. What does this birthday message say?
Seven friends went to a fun fair with lots of scary rides. They decided to pair up for rides until each friend had ridden once with each of the others. What was the total number rides?
Sitting around a table are three girls and three boys. Use the clues to work out were each person is sitting.
The challenge here is to find as many routes as you can for a fence to go so that this town is divided up into two halves, each with 8 blocks.
Let's suppose that you are going to have a magazine which has 16 pages of A5 size. Can you find some different ways to make these pages? Investigate the pattern for each if you number the pages.
Ana and Ross looked in a trunk in the attic. They found old cloaks and gowns, hats and masks. How many possible costumes could they make?
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.
Look carefully at the numbers. What do you notice? Can you make another square using the numbers 1 to 16, that displays the same properties?
If you have three circular objects, you could arrange them so that they are separate, touching, overlapping or inside each other. Can you investigate all the different possibilities?
Arrange eight of the numbers between 1 and 9 in the Polo Square below so that each side adds to the same total.
I was in my car when I noticed a line of four cars on the lane next to me with number plates starting and ending with J, K, L and M. What order were they in?
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, invites you to explore the different combinations of scores that you might get on these dart boards.
There are 4 jugs which hold 9 litres, 7 litres, 4 litres and 2 litres. Find a way to pour 9 litres of drink from one jug to another until you are left with exactly 3 litres in three of the jugs.
When I fold a 0-20 number line, I end up with 'stacks' of numbers on top of each other. These challenges involve varying the length of the number line and investigating the 'stack totals'.
This tricky challenge asks you to find ways of going across rectangles, going through exactly ten squares.
In the planet system of Octa the planets are arranged in the shape of an octahedron. How many different routes could be taken to get from Planet A to Planet Zargon?
This challenge is to design different step arrangements, which must go along a distance of 6 on the steps and must end up at 6 high.
In how many ways can you stack these rods, following the rules?
Ten cards are put into five envelopes so that there are two cards in each envelope. The sum of the numbers inside it is written on each envelope. What numbers could be inside the envelopes?
This problem is based on a code using two different prime numbers less than 10. You'll need to multiply them together and shift the alphabet forwards by the result. Can you decipher the code?
This task, written for the National Young Mathematicians' Award 2016, focuses on 'open squares'. What would the next five open squares look like?
Add the sum of the squares of four numbers between 10 and 20 to the sum of the squares of three numbers less than 6 to make the square of another, larger, number.
Can you make square numbers by adding two prime numbers together?
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?
Place eight queens on an chessboard (an 8 by 8 grid) so that none can capture any of the others.
Ben has five coins in his pocket. How much money might he have?
Number problems at primary level that require careful consideration.
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?