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.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
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.
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. . . .
Replace the letters with numbers to make the addition work out correctly. R E A D + T H I S = P A G E
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?
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.
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.
Label the joints and legs of these graph theory caterpillars so that the vertex sums are all equal.
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?
I added together some of my neighbours' house numbers. Can you explain the patterns I noticed?
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?
This Sudoku combines all four arithmetic operations.
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.
Each of the main diagonals of this sudoku must contain the numbers 1 to 9 and each rectangle width the numbers 1 to 4.
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?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
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?
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
In this article, the NRICH team describe the process of selecting solutions for publication on the site.
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?
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.
Find all the ways of placing the numbers 1 to 9 on a W shape, with 3 numbers on each leg, so that each set of 3 numbers has the same total.
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?
A 2 by 3 rectangle contains 8 squares and a 3 by 4 rectangle contains 20 squares. What size rectangle(s) contain(s) exactly 100 squares? Can you find them all?
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?
A particular technique for solving Sudoku puzzles, known as "naked pair", is explained in this easy-to-read article.
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?
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
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?
Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary connections.
15 = 7 + 8 and 10 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers?
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?
An extra constraint means this Sudoku requires you to think in diagonals as well as horizontal and vertical lines and boxes of nine.
A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
You are given the Lowest Common Multiples of sets of digits. Find the digits and then solve the Sudoku.
You need to find the values of the stars before you can apply normal Sudoku rules.
A pair of Sudoku puzzles that together lead to a complete solution.
Mr Smith and Mr Jones are two maths teachers. By asking questions, the answers to which may be right or wrong, Mr Jones is able to find the number of the house Mr Smith lives in... Or not!
A student in a maths class was trying to get some information from her teacher. She was given some clues and then the teacher ended by saying, "Well, how old are they?"
Make your own double-sided magic square. But can you complete both sides once you've made the pieces?
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
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 Sudoku with clues as ratios.
This pair of linked Sudokus matches letters with numbers and hides a seasonal greeting. Can you find it?
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?
Use the differences to find the solution to this Sudoku.
Four small numbers give the clue to the contents of the four surrounding cells.