Think of a number... follow the machine's instructions. I know what
your number is! Can you explain how I know?
A job needs three men but in fact six people do it. When it is
finished they are all paid the same. How much was paid in total,
and much does each man get if the money is shared as Fred suggests?
Crosses can be drawn on number grids of various sizes. What do you notice when you add opposite ends?
A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .
Think of a number and follow my instructions. Tell me your answer, and I'll tell you what you started with! Can you explain how I know?
We can show that (x + 1)² = x² + 2x + 1 by considering
the area of an (x + 1) by (x + 1) square. Show in a similar way
that (x + 2)² = x² + 4x + 4
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
Arrange the numbers 1 to 16 into a 4 by 4 array. Choose a number.
Cross out the numbers on the same row and column. Repeat this
process. Add up you four numbers. Why do they always add up to 34?
Triangle ABC is isosceles while triangle DEF is equilateral. Find
one angle in terms of the other two.
Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with
a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a
layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?
32 x 38 = 30 x 40 + 2 x 8; 34 x 36 = 30 x 40 + 4 x 6; 56 x 54 = 50
x 60 + 6 x 4; 73 x 77 = 70 x 80 + 3 x 7 Verify and generalise if
The well known Fibonacci sequence is 1 ,1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21....
How many Fibonacci sequences can you find containing the number 196
as one of the terms?
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten.
Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
A, B & C own a half, a third and a sixth of a coin collection.
Each grab some coins, return some, then share equally what they had
put back, finishing with their own share. How rich are they?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
If the sides of the triangle in the diagram are 3, 4 and 5, what is
the area of the shaded square?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
Semicircles are drawn on the sides of a rectangle ABCD. A circle passing through points ABCD carves out four crescent-shaped regions. Prove that the sum of the areas of the four crescents is equal to. . . .
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?
How to build your own magic squares.
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?”
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
Think of a two digit number, reverse the digits, and add the numbers together. Something special happens...
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?
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?
The number 27 is special because it is three times the sum of its digits 27 = 3 (2 + 7). Find some two digit numbers that are SEVEN times the sum of their digits (seven-up numbers)?
A box has faces with areas 3, 12 and 25 square centimetres. What is
the volume of the box?
A hallway floor is tiled and each tile is one foot square. Given
that the number of tiles around the perimeter is EXACTLY half the
total number of tiles, find the possible dimensions of the hallway.
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
Label this plum tree graph to make it totally magic!
The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect
square - can you explain why?
The sum of the numbers 4 and 1 [1/3] is the same as the product of 4 and 1 [1/3]; that is to say 4 + 1 [1/3] = 4 × 1 [1/3]. What other numbers have the sum equal to the product and can this be so for. . . .
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
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?
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
Attach weights of 1, 2, 4, and 8 units to the four attachment
points on the bar. Move the bar from side to side until you find a
balance point. Is it possible to predict that position?
A circle is inscribed in a triangle which has side lengths of 8, 15
and 17 cm. What is the radius of the circle?
Choose any two numbers. Call them a and b. Work out the arithmetic mean and the geometric mean. Which is bigger? Repeat for other pairs of numbers. What do you notice?
Use algebra to reason why 16 and 32 are impossible to create as the
sum of consecutive numbers.
Find some examples of pairs of numbers such that their sum is a
factor of their product. eg. 4 + 12 = 16 and 4 × 12 = 48 and
16 is a factor of 48.
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the
numbers is always less than one plus their product?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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. . . .
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like
to eat chocolate. Multiply this number by 2...
Fifteen students had to travel 60 miles. They could use a car, which could only carry 5 students. As the car left with the first 5 (at 40 miles per hour), the remaining 10 commenced hiking along the. . . .
A mother wants to share a sum of money by giving each of her
children in turn a lump sum plus a fraction of the remainder. How
can she do this in order to share the money out equally?
A cyclist and a runner start off simultaneously around a race track each going at a constant speed. The cyclist goes all the way around and then catches up with the runner. He then instantly turns. . . .