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 ratio of the area of a square inscribed in a semicircle to the area of the square inscribed in the entire circle?
Two semi-circles (each of radius 1/2) touch each other, and a semi-circle of radius 1 touches both of them. Find the radius of the circle which touches all three semi-circles.
Find the missing angle between the two secants to the circle when
the two angles at the centre subtended by the arcs created by the
intersections of the secants and the circle are 50 and 120 degrees.
Can you show that you can share a square pizza equally between two
people by cutting it four times using vertical, horizontal and
diagonal cuts through any point inside the square?
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
Three semi-circles have a common diameter, each touches the other
two and two lie inside the biggest one. What is the radius of the
circle that touches all three semi-circles?
This pattern of six circles contains three unit circles. Work out
the radii of the other three circles and the relationship between
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?”
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
Find all the ways of placing the numbers 1 to 9 on a W shape, with
3 numbers on each leg, so that each set of 3 numbers has the same
If you take two tests and get a marks out of a maximum b in the first and c marks out of d in the second, does the mediant (a+c)/(b+d)lie between the results for the two tests separately.
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?
How good are you at finding the formula for a number pattern ?
A moveable screen slides along a mirrored corridor towards a
centrally placed light source. A ray of light from that source is
directed towards a wall of the corridor, which it strikes at 45
degrees. . . .
Relate these algebraic expressions to geometrical diagrams.
Triangle ABC is an equilateral triangle with three parallel lines going through the vertices. Calculate the length of the sides of the triangle if the perpendicular distances between the parallel. . . .
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
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. . . .
Sets of integers like 3, 4, 5 are called Pythagorean Triples, because they could be the lengths of the sides of a right-angled triangle. Can you find any more?
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.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces
of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had
no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the
numbers is always less than one plus their product?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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?
Can you find the value of this function involving algebraic
fractions for x=2000?
The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect
square - can you explain why?
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?
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
In a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses, how many winning lines can you make?
Can you fit polynomials through these points?
To investigate the relationship between the distance the ruler drops and the time taken, we need to do some mathematical modelling...
Use algebra to reason why 16 and 32 are impossible to create as the
sum of consecutive numbers.
Fancy learning a bit more about rates of reaction, but don't know
where to look? Come inside and find out more...
How to build your own magic squares.
A 2-Digit number is squared. When this 2-digit number is reversed
and squared, the difference between the squares is also a square.
What is the 2-digit number?
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 point moves around inside a rectangle. What are the least and the
greatest values of the sum of the squares of the distances from the
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. . . .
The problem is how did Archimedes calculate the lengths of the sides of the polygons which needed him to be able to calculate square roots?
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. . . .
The diagram illustrates the formula: 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n - 1) = n² Use the diagram to show that any odd number is the difference of two squares.
In a snooker game the brown ball was on the lip of the pocket but
it could not be hit directly as the black ball was in the way. How
could it be potted by playing the white ball off a cushion?
In turn 4 people throw away three nuts from a pile and hide a
quarter of the remainder finally leaving a multiple of 4 nuts. How
many nuts were at the start?
Investigate how you can work out what day of the week your birthday will be on next year, and the year after...
Label this plum tree graph to make it totally magic!