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 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.
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?
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?
The number 2.525252525252.... can be written as a fraction. What is
the sum of the denominator and numerator?
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.
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.
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
A car's milometer reads 4631 miles and the trip meter has 173.3 on
it. How many more miles must the car travel before the two numbers
contain the same digits in the same order?
Mathematicians are always looking for efficient methods for solving problems. How efficient can you 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?
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?
Think of two whole numbers under 10, and follow the steps. I can work out both your numbers very quickly. How?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
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?
Each of the following shapes is made from arcs of a circle of
radius r. What is the perimeter of a shape with 3, 4, 5 and n
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?
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two numbers...
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a
pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow
paint on their faces?
What is the greatest volume you can get for a rectangular (cuboid)
parcel if the maximum combined length and girth are 2 metres?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
Can you find rectangles where the value of the area is the same as the value of the perimeter?
Here is a chance to create some attractive images by rotating
shapes through multiples of 90 degrees, or 30 degrees, or 72
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?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
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. . . .
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?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.
Explore the effect of combining enlargements.
Take any four digit number. Move the first digit to the 'back of
the queue' and move the rest along. Now add your two numbers. What
properties do your answers always have?
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.
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?
Sissa cleverly asked the King for a reward that sounded quite modest but turned out to be rather large...
Can you guarantee that, for any three numbers you choose, the
product of their differences will always be an even number?
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.
Is there an efficient way to work out how many factors a large number has?
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 know a quick way to check if a number is a multiple of two? How about three, four or six?
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?
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?
Here's a chance to work with large numbers...
On the graph there are 28 marked points. These points all mark the
vertices (corners) of eight hidden squares. Can you find the eight
How many solutions can you find to this sum? Each of the different letters stands for a different number.
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...