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Broad Topics > Numbers and the Number System > Properties of numbers

Difference Dynamics

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

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?

Small Change

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Whole Numbers Only

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Can you work out how many of each kind of pencil this student bought?

Cinema Problem

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

A cinema has 100 seats. Show how it is possible to sell exactly 100 tickets and take exactly Â£100 if the prices are Â£10 for adults, 50p for pensioners and 10p for children.

Happy Octopus

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Like Powers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Four Coloured Lights

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Writ Large

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Suppose you had to begin the never ending task of writing out the natural numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.... and so on. What would be the 1000th digit you would write down.

One to Eight

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Complete the following expressions so that each one gives a four digit number as the product of two two digit numbers and uses the digits 1 to 8 once and only once.

A Long Time at the Till

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

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?

Lesser Digits

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

How many positive integers less than or equal to 4000 can be written down without using the digits 7, 8 or 9?

Chameleons

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

An Introduction to Irrational Numbers

Stage: 4 and 5

Tim Rowland introduces irrational numbers

Lastly - Well

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

What are the last two digits of 2^(2^2003)?

Six Times Five

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

How many six digit numbers are there which DO NOT contain a 5?

Oh! Hidden Inside?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Find the number which has 8 divisors, such that the product of the divisors is 331776.

Sept 03

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

What is the last digit of the number 1 / 5^903 ?

Slippy Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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 9.

Helen's Conjecture

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Helen made the conjecture that "every multiple of six has more factors than the two numbers either side of it". Is this conjecture true?

Cogs

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Arrange the Digits

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Water Lilies

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Fracmax

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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.

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?

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?

Thirty Six Exactly

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

The number 12 = 2^2 × 3 has 6 factors. What is the smallest natural number with exactly 36 factors?

Babylon Numbers

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Can you make a hypothesis to explain these ancient numbers?

Odd Differences

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

The diagram illustrates the formula: 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n - 1) = nÂ² Use the diagram to show that any odd number is the difference of two squares.

Unit Fractions

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Alphabet Soup

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

This challenge is to make up YOUR OWN alphanumeric. Each letter represents a digit and where the same letter appears more than once it must represent the same digit each time.

The Patent Solution

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Clever Carl

Stage: 2 and 3

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.

X Marks the Spot

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

When the number x 1 x x x is multiplied by 417 this gives the answer 9 x x x 0 5 7. Find the missing digits, each of which is represented by an "x" .

Not a Polite Question

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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 perfect square...

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Factorial

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

How many zeros are there at the end of the number which is the product of first hundred positive integers?

Times Right

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Triangular Triples

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Show that 8778, 10296 and 13530 are three triangular numbers and that they form a Pythagorean triple.

Elevenses

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?

Mini-max

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

A Little Light Thinking

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Here is a machine with four coloured lights. Can you make two lights switch on at once? Three lights? All four lights?

Summing Consecutive Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Counting Factors

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Is there an efficient way to work out how many factors a large number has?

Guess the Dominoes

Stage: 1, 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

This task depends on learners sharing reasoning, listening to opinions, reflecting and pulling ideas together.

Magic Letters

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?

Filling the Gaps

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Which numbers can we write as a sum of square numbers?