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Broad Topics > Sequences, Functions and Graphs > Sequences

Triangles and Petals

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

An equilateral triangle rotates around regular polygons and produces an outline like a flower. What are the perimeters of the different flowers?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.

1 Step 2 Step

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Liam's house has a staircase with 12 steps. He can go down the steps one at a time or two at time. In how many different ways can Liam go down the 12 steps?

Sums of Powers - A Festive Story

Stage: 3 and 4

A story for students about adding powers of integers - with a festive twist.

Sissa's Reward

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Sissa cleverly asked the King for a reward that sounded quite modest but turned out to be rather large...

Series Sums

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Let S1 = 1 , S2 = 2 + 3, S3 = 4 + 5 + 6 ,........ Calculate S17.

Lower Bound

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =

Squaresearch

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Consider numbers of the form un = 1! + 2! + 3! +...+n!. How many such numbers are perfect squares?

Tiny Nines

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Find the decimal equivalents of the fractions one ninth, one ninety ninth, one nine hundred and ninety ninth etc. Explain the pattern you get and generalise.

Summing Squares

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Discover a way to sum square numbers by building cuboids from small cubes. Can you picture how the sequence will grow?

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?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

What is the total area of the first two triangles as a fraction of the original A4 rectangle? What is the total area of the first three triangles as a fraction of the original A4 rectangle? If. . . .

Regular Hexagon Loops

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Make some loops out of regular hexagons. What rules can you discover?

Farey Sequences

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

There are lots of ideas to explore in these sequences of ordered fractions.

Seven Squares

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?

On the Importance of Pedantry

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

A introduction to how patterns can be deceiving, and what is and is not a proof.

Three Frogs

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Three frogs hopped onto the table. A red frog on the left a green in the middle and a blue frog on the right. Then frogs started jumping randomly over any adjacent frog. Is it possible for them to. . . .

Odds, Evens and More Evens

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Alison, Bernard and Charlie have been exploring sequences of odd and even numbers, which raise some intriguing questions...

Triangles Within Triangles

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?

Triangles Within Squares

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?

Stretching Fractions

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Imagine a strip with a mark somewhere along it. Fold it in the middle so that the bottom reaches back to the top. Stetch it out to match the original length. Now where's the mark?

Generating Number Patterns: an Email Conversation

Stage: 2, 3 and 4

This article for teachers describes the exchanges on an email talk list about ideas for an investigation which has the sum of the squares as its solution.

Changing Places

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Place a red counter in the top left corner of a 4x4 array, which is covered by 14 other smaller counters, leaving a gap in the bottom right hand corner (HOME). What is the smallest number of moves. . . .

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?

Triangles Within Pentagons

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.

Big Powers

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Three people chose this as a favourite problem. It is the sort of problem that needs thinking time - but once the connection is made it gives access to many similar ideas.

Odd Differences

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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.

Shifting Times Tables

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Can you find a way to identify times tables after they have been shifted up?

Clock Squares

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Square numbers can be represented on the seven-clock (representing these numbers modulo 7). This works like the days of the week.

Intersecting Circles

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other. What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles could have?

Happy Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Take any whole number between 1 and 999, add the squares of the digits to get a new number. Make some conjectures about what happens in general.

Maxagon

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

What's the greatest number of sides a polygon on a dotty grid could have?

Sixational

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

The nth term of a sequence is given by the formula n^3 + 11n . Find the first four terms of the sequence given by this formula and the first term of the sequence which is bigger than one million. . . .

Loopy

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Investigate sequences given by $a_n = \frac{1+a_{n-1}}{a_{n-2}}$ for different choices of the first two terms. Make a conjecture about the behaviour of these sequences. Can you prove your conjecture?

Dalmatians

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Investigate the sequences obtained by starting with any positive 2 digit number (10a+b) and repeatedly using the rule 10a+b maps to 10b-a to get the next number in the sequence.

Differs

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Choose any 4 whole numbers and take the difference between consecutive numbers, ending with the difference between the first and the last numbers. What happens when you repeat this process over and. . . .

Logoland - Sequences

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Make some intricate patterns in LOGO

More Pebbles

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

Have a go at this 3D extension to the Pebbles problem.

Towers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

A tower of squares is built inside a right angled isosceles triangle. The largest square stands on the hypotenuse. What fraction of the area of the triangle is covered by the series of squares?

Converging Means

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Take any two positive numbers. Calculate the arithmetic and geometric means. Repeat the calculations to generate a sequence of arithmetic means and geometric means. Make a note of what happens to the. . . .

LOGO Challenge - Sequences and Pentagrams

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Explore this how this program produces the sequences it does. What are you controlling when you change the values of the variables?

LOGO Challenge - Circles as Bugs

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Here are some circle bugs to try to replicate with some elegant programming, plus some sequences generated elegantly in LOGO.

Triangular Triples

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Ordered Sums

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Let a(n) be the number of ways of expressing the integer n as an ordered sum of 1's and 2's. Let b(n) be the number of ways of expressing n as an ordered sum of integers greater than 1. (i) Calculate. . . .

Designing Table Mats

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Formulate and investigate a simple mathematical model for the design of a table mat.

Extending Great Squares

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

Explore one of these five pictures.

What an Odd Fact(or)

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Can you show that 1^99 + 2^99 + 3^99 + 4^99 + 5^99 is divisible by 5?

Pebbles

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

Place four pebbles on the sand in the form of a square. Keep adding as few pebbles as necessary to double the area. How many extra pebbles are added each time?

Remainder

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

What is the remainder when 2^2002 is divided by 7? What happens with different powers of 2?