Is it always possible to combine two paints made up in the ratios
1:x and 1:y and turn them into paint made up in the ratio a:b ? Can
you find an efficent way of doing this?
A decorator can buy pink paint from two manufacturers. What is the
least number he would need of each type in order to produce
different shades of pink.
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. The Greedy Algorithm might provide us with an efficient
way of doing this.
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
A jigsaw where pieces only go together if the fractions are
A circle of radius r touches two sides of a right angled triangle,
sides x and y, and has its centre on the hypotenuse. Can you prove
the formula linking x, y and r?
Can you find rectangles where the value of the area is the same as the value of the perimeter?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
Investigate how you can work out what day of the week your birthday will be on next year, and the year after...
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
Five children went into the sweet shop after school. There were
choco bars, chews, mini eggs and lollypops, all costing under 50p.
Suggest a way in which Nathan could spend all his money.
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?
If it takes four men one day to build a wall, how long does it take
60,000 men to build a similar wall?
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
Think of two whole numbers under 10, and follow the steps. I can work out both your numbers very quickly. How?
If: A + C = A; F x D = F; B - G = G; A + H = E; B / H = G; E - G =
F and A-H represent the numbers from 0 to 7 Find the values of A,
B, C, D, E, F and H.
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
Water freezes at 0°Celsius (32°Fahrenheit) and boils at 100°C (212°Fahrenheit). Is there a temperature at which Celsius and Fahrenheit readings are the same?
If the hypotenuse (base) length is 100cm and if an extra line
splits the base into 36cm and 64cm parts, what were the side
lengths for the original right-angled triangle?
Imagine you have a large supply of 3kg and 8kg weights. How many of each weight would you need for the average (mean) of the weights to be 6kg? What other averages could you have?
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two numbers...
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
Manufacturers need to minimise the amount of material used to make
their product. What is the best cross-section for a gutter?
What is the greatest volume you can get for a rectangular (cuboid)
parcel if the maximum combined length and girth are 2 metres?
Here is a chance to create some attractive images by rotating
shapes through multiples of 90 degrees, or 30 degrees, or 72
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Two ladders are propped up against facing walls. The end of the
first ladder is 10 metres above the foot of the first wall. The end
of the second ladder is 5 metres above the foot of the second. . . .
How many more miles must the car travel before the numbers on the milometer and the trip meter contain the same digits in the same order?
The diagonals of a trapezium divide it into four parts. Can you
create a trapezium where three of those parts are equal in area?
A game for 2 or more people, based on the traditional card game
Rummy. Players aim to make two `tricks', where each trick has to
consist of a picture of a shape, a name that describes that shape,
and. . . .
Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.
Explore the effect of combining enlargements.
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
An investigation involving adding and subtracting sets of consecutive numbers. Lots to find out, lots to explore.
Four bags contain a large number of 1s, 3s, 5s and 7s. Pick any ten numbers from the bags above so that their total is 37.
Many numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers. For example, 15=7+8 and 10=1+2+3+4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed in this way?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Can you arrange these numbers into 7 subsets, each of three
numbers, so that when the numbers in each are added together, they
make seven consecutive numbers?
Sissa cleverly asked the King for a reward that sounded quite modest but turned out to be rather large...
Mathematicians are always looking for efficient methods for solving problems. How efficient can you be?
Is there an efficient way to work out how many factors a large number has?
Can you guarantee that, for any three numbers you choose, the
product of their differences will always be an even number?
The number 2.525252525252.... can be written as a fraction. What is
the sum of the denominator and numerator?
A country has decided to have just two different coins, 3z and 5z
coins. Which totals can be made? Is there a largest total that
cannot be made? How do you know?
Do you know a quick way to check if a number is a multiple of two? How about three, four or six?