Challenging Math Puzzle

Aww Uncle Mike, Please Tell Me The Answer!


Here's a really challenging math puzzle for kids, and for adults too. I've seen kids baffle away at this challenging puzzle for months! Each time they saw me they'd ask how to solve it! Although an eight-year-old can understand the puzzle easily enough, and enjoy it, kids from ten up are the ones who have a realistic chance of cracking it.

Board for the 8 puzzle

Well, there's the grid. All you have to do is arrange the numbers 1 through to 8 in the grid shown.

The rules? No consecutive numbers should be next to each other, either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Sounds simple? Have a go! You will realize fairly soon why I call it challenging maths puzzle.

You might find that it takes kids a few tries before they properly "get" the rules. They'll come, show you their "solution", and you'll see the 7 and 8 in two boxes joined at the corner, for example. If you explain why their solution is not correct, and smile in just the right way, they'll try and try and try and try again to solve it.

I've provided here a printable puzzle sheet, with detailed instructions, including pictures showing common errors. Or if you prefer, you can get just the puzzle sheet, two per page.

If you want to test your guess, use the form below!