Tim Rowland introduces irrational numbers
Ranging from kindergarten mathematics to the fringe of research
this informal article paints the big picture of number in a non
technical way suitable for primary teachers and older students.
Can you make a hypothesis to explain these ancient numbers?
Is it true that $99^n$ has 2n digits and $999^n$ has 3n digits? Investigate!
A cinema has 100 seats. Show how it is possible to sell exactly 100 tickets and take exactly £100 if the prices are £10 for adults, 50p for pensioners and 10p for children.
Find the maximum value of 1/p + 1/q + 1/r where this sum is less than 1 and p, q, and r are positive integers.
Find the five distinct digits N, R, I, C and H in the following
A and B are two interlocking cogwheels having p teeth and q teeth respectively. One tooth on B is painted red. Find the values of p and q for which the red tooth on B contacts every gap on the. . . .
In how many ways can a pound (value 100 pence) be changed into some combination of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pence coins?
Find some triples of whole numbers a, b and c such that a^2 + b^2 + c^2 is a multiple of 4. Is it necessarily the case that a, b and c must all be even? If so, can you explain why?
What are the last two digits of 2^(2^2003)?
What is the last digit of the number 1 / 5^903 ?
Helen made the conjecture that "every multiple of six has more
factors than the two numbers either side of it". Is this conjecture
The number 2.525252525252.... can be written as a fraction. What is
the sum of the denominator and numerator?
How many six digit numbers are there which DO NOT contain a 5?
Investigate $1^n + 19^n + 20^n + 51^n + 57^n + 80^n + 82^n $ and $2^n + 12^n + 31^n + 40^n + 69^n + 71^n + 85^n$ for different values of n.
The number 10112359550561797752808988764044943820224719 is called a
'slippy number' because, when the last digit 9 is moved to the
front, the new number produced is the slippy number multiplied by
There are some water lilies in a lake. The area that they cover doubles in size every day. After 17 days the whole lake is covered. How long did it take them to cover half the lake?
Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?
Robert noticed some interesting patterns when he highlighted square
numbers in a spreadsheet. Can you prove that the patterns will
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?
Which numbers can we write as a sum of square numbers?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
Take three whole numbers. The differences between them give you
three new numbers. Find the differences between the new numbers and
keep repeating this. What happens?
Here is a machine with four coloured lights. Can you make two lights switch on at once? Three lights? All four lights?
Can you arrange the digits 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 into three 3-digit
numbers such that their total is close to 1500?
Find out about palindromic numbers by reading this article.
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Imagine a machine with four coloured lights which respond to different rules. Can you find the smallest possible number which will make all four colours light up?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
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.
Using the digits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, mulitply a two two digit numbers are multiplied to give a four digit number, so that the expression is correct. How many different solutions can you find?
Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down
all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur
most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .
This investigation is about happy numbers in the World of the Octopus where all numbers are written in base 8 ... Find all the fixed points and cycles for the happy number sequences in base 8.
Visitors to Earth from the distant planet of Zub-Zorna were amazed
when they found out that when the digits in this multiplication
were reversed, the answer was the same! Find a way to explain. . . .
Consider the equation 1/a + 1/b + 1/c = 1 where a, b and c are
natural numbers and 0 < a < b < c. Prove that there is
only one set of values which satisfy this equation.
Whenever two chameleons of different colours meet they change
colour to the third colour. Describe the shortest sequence of
meetings in which all the chameleons change to green if you start
with 12. . . .
How many positive integers less than or equal to 4000 can be
written down without using the digits 7, 8 or 9?
Can you find any perfect numbers? Read this article to find out more...
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 work out how many of each kind of pencil this student
A combination mechanism for a safe comprises thirty-two tumblers
numbered from one to thirty-two in such a way that the numbers in
each wheel total 132... Could you open the safe?
Place the numbers 1, 2, 3,..., 9 one on each square of a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows and columns add up to a prime number. How many different solutions can you find?
Show that 8778, 10296 and 13530 are three triangular numbers and that they form a Pythagorean triple.
How many zeros are there at the end of the number which is the
product of first hundred positive integers?
When asked how old she was, the teacher replied: My age in years is
not prime but odd and when reversed and added to my age you have a
115^2 = (110 x 120) + 25, that is 13225 895^2 = (890 x 900) + 25, that is 801025 Can you explain what is happening and generalise?
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?
Work out how to light up the single light. What's the rule?
What would you do if your teacher asked you add all the numbers from 1 to 100? Find out how Carl Gauss responded when he was asked to do just that.