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Broad Topics > Algebra > Manipulating algebraic expressions/formulae

Poly Fibs

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

A sequence of polynomials starts 0, 1 and each poly is given by combining the two polys in the sequence just before it. Investigate and prove results about the roots of the polys.

Fibonacci Factors

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

For which values of n is the Fibonacci number fn even? Which Fibonnaci numbers are divisible by 3?

Particularly General

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

By proving these particular identities, prove the existence of general cases.

Sums of Pairs

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are the three numbers Jo had to start with?”

Three Ways

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

If x + y = -1 find the largest value of xy by coordinate geometry, by calculus and by algebra.

Triangles Within Squares

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?

Polynomial Relations

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Given any two polynomials in a single variable it is always possible to eliminate the variable and obtain a formula showing the relationship between the two polynomials. Try this one.

How Many Solutions?

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Find all the solutions to the this equation.

Binomial

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

By considering powers of (1+x), show that the sum of the squares of the binomial coefficients from 0 to n is 2nCn

Always Perfect

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.

Telescoping Functions

Stage: 5

Take a complicated fraction with the product of five quartics top and bottom and reduce this to a whole number. This is a numerical example involving some clever algebra.

Pair Products

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?

Mechanical Integration

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

To find the integral of a polynomial, evaluate it at some special points and add multiples of these values.

Complex Partial Fractions

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

To break down an algebraic fraction into partial fractions in which all the denominators are linear and all the numerators are constants you sometimes need complex numbers.

And So on - and on -and On

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Can you find the value of this function involving algebraic fractions for x=2000?

Multiplication Square

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?

Incircles

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

The incircles of 3, 4, 5 and of 5, 12, 13 right angled triangles have radii 1 and 2 units respectively. What about triangles with an inradius of 3, 4 or 5 or ...?

DOTS Division

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Take any pair of two digit numbers x=ab and y=cd where, without loss of generality, ab > cd . Form two 4 digit numbers r=abcd and s=cdab and calculate: {r^2 - s^2} /{x^2 - y^2}.

Janine's Conjecture

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Janine noticed, while studying some cube numbers, that if you take three consecutive whole numbers and multiply them together and then add the middle number of the three, you get the middle number. . . .

Pair Squares

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

The sum of any two of the numbers 2, 34 and 47 is a perfect square. Choose three square numbers and find sets of three integers with this property. Generalise to four integers.

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Find all positive integers a and b for which the two equations: x^2-ax+b = 0 and x^2-bx+a = 0 both have positive integer solutions.

Diverging

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Show that for natural numbers x and y if x/y > 1 then x/y>(x+1)/(y+1}>1. Hence prove that the product for i=1 to n of [(2i)/(2i-1)] tends to infinity as n tends to infinity.

Never Prime

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

If a two digit number has its digits reversed and the smaller of the two numbers is subtracted from the larger, prove the difference can never be prime.

Look Before You Leap

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Relate these algebraic expressions to geometrical diagrams.

Absurdity Again

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

What is the value of the integers a and b where sqrt(8-4sqrt3) = sqrt a - sqrt b?

Sitting Pretty

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Orbiting Billiard Balls

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

What angle is needed for a ball to do a circuit of the billiard table and then pass through its original position?

Algebra from Geometry

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Account of an investigation which starts from the area of an annulus and leads to the formula for the difference of two squares.

Interpolating Polynomials

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Given a set of points (x,y) with distinct x values, find a polynomial that goes through all of them, then prove some results about the existence and uniqueness of these polynomials.

Salinon

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

This shape comprises four semi-circles. What is the relationship between the area of the shaded region and the area of the circle on AB as diameter?

Calculus Countdown

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Can you hit the target functions using a set of input functions and a little calculus and algebra?

Magic Sums and Products

Stage: 3 and 4

How to build your own magic squares.

Algebra Match

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

A task which depends on members of the group noticing the needs of others and responding.

Simplifying Doughnut

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

An algebra task which depends on members of the group noticing the needs of others and responding.

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Robert noticed some interesting patterns when he highlighted square numbers in a spreadsheet. Can you prove that the patterns will continue?

Unusual Long Division - Square Roots Before Calculators

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

However did we manage before calculators? Is there an efficient way to do a square root if you have to do the work yourself?

There and Back

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Brian swims at twice the speed that a river is flowing, downstream from one moored boat to another and back again, taking 12 minutes altogether. How long would it have taken him in still water?

Nicely Similar

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Sums of Squares

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Prove that 3 times the sum of 3 squares is the sum of 4 squares. Rather easier, can you prove that twice the sum of two squares always gives the sum of two squares?

Ball Bearings

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

If a is the radius of the axle, b the radius of each ball-bearing, and c the radius of the hub, why does the number of ball bearings n determine the ratio c/a? Find a formula for c/a in terms of n.

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

If a sum invested gains 10% each year how long before it has doubled its value?

System Speak

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Five equations... five unknowns... can you solve the system?

' Tis Whole

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Take a few whole numbers away from a triangle number. If you know the mean of the remaining numbers can you find the triangle number and which numbers were removed?

Cosines Rule

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Three points A, B and C lie in this order on a line, and P is any point in the plane. Use the Cosine Rule to prove the following statement.

Root to Poly

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Find the polynomial p(x) with integer coefficients such that one solution of the equation p(x)=0 is $1+\sqrt 2+\sqrt 3$.

More Polynomial Equations

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Find relationships between the polynomials a, b and c which are polynomials in n giving the sums of the first n natural numbers, squares and cubes respectively.

The Medieval Octagon

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Medieval stonemasons used a method to construct octagons using ruler and compasses... Is the octagon regular? Proof please.

Reciprocals

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Prove that the product of the sum of n positive numbers with the sum of their reciprocals is not less than n^2.

Consecutive Squares

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

The squares of any 8 consecutive numbers can be arranged into two sets of four numbers with the same sum. True of false?

Always Two

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Find all the triples of numbers a, b, c such that each one of them plus the product of the other two is always 2.