An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
Rectangle PQRS has X and Y on the edges. Triangles PQY, YRX and XSP
have equal areas. Prove X and Y divide the sides of PQRS in the
A 1 metre cube has one face on the ground and one face against a
wall. A 4 metre ladder leans against the wall and just touches the
cube. How high is the top of the ladder above the ground?
It is clear that each of a, b and c must be less than or equal to $10$. A brief inspection will show that the only combination of different square numbers which total $121$ is $81+36+4$.
More formally, the problem can be analysed by considering the remainders after dividing the square numbers less than $121$ $(1,4,9,16,25,36,49,64,81$ and $100)$ by three. The remainders are $(1,1,0,1,1,0,1,1,0$ and $1)$.
When $121$ is divided by $3$, the remainder is $1$. Therefore $a^2+b^2+c^2$ must also leave a remainder of $1$.
Now we can deduce that two of the three squares must leave a remainder of $0$ and so be multiples of $3$. There are three square numbers below $121$ which are multiples of three: $9, 36$ and $81$. Checking these, we see that $81$ and $36$ are the only pair to have a sum which differs from $121$ by a perfect square, namely $4$.
This problem is taken from the UKMT Mathematical Challenges.View the archive of all weekly problems grouped by curriculum topic