These formulae are often quoted, but rarely proved. In this article, we derive the formulae for the volumes of a square-based pyramid and a cone, using relatively simple mathematical concepts.
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right
hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of
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
This rectangle is cut into five pieces which fit exactly into a triangular outline and also into a square outline where the triangle, the rectangle and the square have equal areas.
The number of plants in Mr McGregor's magic potting shed increases
overnight. He'd like to put the same number of plants in each of
his gardens, planting one garden each day. How can he do it?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
A game for 2 players that can be played online. Players take it in turns to select a word from the 9 words given. The aim is to select all the occurrences of the same letter.
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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. . . .
Use the interactivity to play two of the bells in a pattern. How do
you know when it is your turn to ring, and how do you know which
bell to ring?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Use the interactivity to find all the different right-angled triangles you can make by just moving one corner of the starting triangle.
You can move the 4 pieces of the jigsaw and fit them into both
outlines. Explain what has happened to the missing one unit of
Given the nets of 4 cubes with the faces coloured in 4 colours, build a tower so that on each vertical wall no colour is repeated, that is all 4 colours appear.
What shaped overlaps can you make with two circles which are the
same size? What shapes are 'left over'? What shapes can you make
when the circles are different sizes?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Can you find all the 4-ball shuffles?
A metal puzzle which led to some mathematical questions.
Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players
take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single
pile. The winner is the player to take the last counter.
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
A game for 2 players. Can be played online. One player has 1 red
counter, the other has 4 blue. The red counter needs to reach the
other side, and the blue needs to trap the red.
Do you know how to find the area of a triangle? You can count the
squares. What happens if we turn the triangle on end? Press the
button and see. Try counting the number of units in the triangle
now. . . .
What shape is the overlap when you slide one of these shapes half
way across another? Can you picture it in your head? Use the
interactivity to check your visualisation.
Use the interactivity to listen to the bells ringing a pattern. Now
it's your turn! Play one of the bells yourself. How do you know
when it is your turn to ring?
Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many
different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
Imagine picking up a bow and some arrows and attempting to hit the
target a few times. Can you work out the settings for the sight
that give you the best chance of gaining a high score?
A shape and space game for 2,3 or 4 players. Be the last person to be able to place a pentomino piece on the playing board. Play with card, or on the computer.
Can you put the numbers from 1 to 15 on the circles so that no
consecutive numbers lie anywhere along a continuous straight line?
A game for 1 or 2 people. Use the interactive version, or play with friends. Try to round up as many counters as possible.
A game for two people, or play online. Given a target number, say 23, and a range of numbers to choose from, say 1-4, players take it in turns to add to the running total to hit their target.
Identical discs are flipped in the air. You win if all of the faces
show the same colour. Can you calculate the probability of winning
with n discs?
Can you spot the similarities between this game and other games you know? The aim is to choose 3 numbers that total 15.
Can you beat Piggy in this simple dice game? Can you figure out
Piggy's strategy, and is there a better one?
A red square and a blue square overlap so that the corner of the red square rests on the centre of the blue square. Show that, whatever the orientation of the red square, it covers a quarter of the. . . .
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these clocks?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these people?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this brazier for roasting chestnuts?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the child walking home from school?
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the lobster, yacht and cyclist?
Carry out some time trials and gather some data to help you decide
on the best training regime for your rowing crew.
Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the chairs?
Our 2008 Advent Calendar has a 'Making Maths' activity for every
day in the run-up to Christmas.
A game to be played against the computer, or in groups. Pick a 7-digit number. A random digit is generated. What must you subract to remove the digit from your number? the first to zero wins.
Arrange the four number cards on the grid, according to the rules,
to make a diagonal, vertical or horizontal line.