Mathematicians are always looking for efficient methods for solving problems. How efficient can you be?
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?
An observer is on top of a lighthouse. How far from the foot of the lighthouse is the horizon that the observer can see?
What is the largest number which, when divided into 1905, 2587,
3951, 7020 and 8725 in turn, leaves the same remainder each time?
Investigate how you can work out what day of the week your birthday
will be on next year, and the year after...
Play the divisibility game to create numbers in which the first two digits make a number divisible by 2, the first three digits make a number divisible by 3...
Chris is enjoying a swim but needs to get back for lunch. If she can swim at 3 m/s and run at 7m/sec, how far along the bank should she land in order to get back as quickly as possible?
Ben passed a third of his counters to Jack, Jack passed a quarter
of his counters to Emma and Emma passed a fifth of her counters to
Ben. After this they all had the same number of counters.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
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. . . .
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?
Can you find six numbers to go in the Daisy from which you can make all the numbers from 1 to a number bigger than 25?
It is known that the area of the largest equilateral triangular
section of a cube is 140sq cm. What is the side length of the cube?
The distances between the centres of two adjacent faces of. . . .
Here's a chance to work with large numbers...
Two motorboats travelling up and down a lake at constant speeds
leave opposite ends A and B at the same instant, passing each
other, for the first time 600 metres from A, and on their return,
400. . . .
How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.
If you are given the mean, median and mode of five positive whole
numbers, can you find the numbers?
Different combinations of the weights available allow you to make different totals. Which totals can you make?
Your school has been left a million pounds in the will of an ex-
pupil. What model of investment and spending would you use in order
to ensure the best return on the money?
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?
Some people offer advice on how to win at games of chance, or how
to influence probability in your favour. Can you decide whether
advice is good or not?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of
11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Can you guarantee that, for any three numbers you choose, the
product of their differences will always be an even number?
Caroline and James pick sets of five numbers. Charlie chooses three of them that add together to make a multiple of three. Can they stop him?
Some 4 digit numbers can be written as the product of a 3 digit
number and a 2 digit number using the digits 1 to 9 each once and
only once. The number 4396 can be written as just such a product.
Can. . . .
A spider is sitting in the middle of one of the smallest walls in a
room and a fly is resting beside the window. What is the shortest
distance the spider would have to crawl to catch the fly?
The clues for this Sudoku are the product of the numbers in adjacent squares.
What is the smallest number with exactly 14 divisors?
Sissa cleverly asked the King for a reward that sounded quite modest but turned out to be rather large...
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
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?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
What does this number mean ? Which order of 1, 2, 3 and 4 makes the
highest value ? Which makes the lowest ?
Do you know a quick way to check if a number is a multiple of two?
How about three, four or six?
What angle is needed for a ball to do a circuit of the billiard
table and then pass through its original position?
A hexagon, with sides alternately a and b units in length, is
inscribed in a circle. How big is the radius of the circle?
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?
The area of a square inscribed in a circle with a unit radius is,
satisfyingly, 2. What is the area of a regular hexagon inscribed in
a circle with a unit radius?
A napkin is folded so that a corner coincides with the midpoint of
an opposite edge . Investigate the three triangles formed .
The diagonals of a trapezium divide it into four parts. Can you
create a trapezium where three of those parts are equal in area?
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. . . .
Show that is it impossible to have a tetrahedron whose six edges
have lengths 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 units...
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
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?
A square of area 40 square cms is inscribed in a semicircle. Find
the area of the square that could be inscribed in a circle of the
Why does this fold create an angle of sixty degrees?
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?