This article introduces the idea of generic proof for younger children and illustrates how one example can offer a proof of a general result through unpacking its underlying structure.
Look at three 'next door neighbours' amongst the counting numbers. Add them together. What do you notice?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .
A introduction to how patterns can be deceiving, and what is and is not a proof.
Write down a three-digit number Change the order of the digits to
get a different number Find the difference between the two three
digit numbers Follow the rest of the instructions then try. . . .
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.
Here are three 'tricks' to amaze your friends. But the really
clever trick is explaining to them why these 'tricks' are maths not
magic. Like all good magicians, you should practice by trying. . . .
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
Make a set of numbers that use all the digits from 1 to 9, once and
once only. Add them up. The result is divisible by 9. Add each of
the digits in the new number. What is their sum? Now try some. . . .
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?
Semicircles are drawn on the sides of a rectangle ABCD. A circle passing through points ABCD carves out four crescent-shaped regions. Prove that the sum of the areas of the four crescents is equal to. . . .
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.
If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable.
Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.
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.
Spotting patterns can be an important first step - explaining why it is appropriate to generalise is the next step, and often the most interesting and important.
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for
practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry
In this 7-sandwich: 7 1 3 1 6 4 3 5 7 2 4 6 2 5 there are 7 numbers between the 7s, 6 between the 6s etc. The article shows which values of n can make n-sandwiches and which cannot.
Patterns that repeat in a line are strangely interesting. How many types are there and how do you tell one type from another?
Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful
inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of
knots and a little about prime knots, crossing numbers and. . . .
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
Points A, B and C are the centres of three circles, each one of which touches the other two. Prove that the perimeter of the triangle ABC is equal to the diameter of the largest circle.
A paradox is a statement that seems to be both untrue and true at the same time. This article looks at a few examples and challenges you to investigate them for yourself.
Can you cross each of the seven bridges that join the north and south of the river to the two islands, once and once only, without retracing your steps?
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner circle.
Can you find all the 4-ball shuffles?
What happens when you add three numbers together? Will your answer be odd or even? How do you know?
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
What can you say about the angles on opposite vertices of any
cyclic quadrilateral? Working on the building blocks will give you
insights that may help you to explain what is special about them.
Look at what happens when you take a number, square it and subtract your answer. What kind of number do you get? Can you prove it?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?
Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
This article stems from research on the teaching of proof and
offers guidance on how to move learners from focussing on
experimental arguments to mathematical arguments and deductive
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.
Learn about the link between logical arguments and electronic circuits. Investigate the logical connectives by making and testing your own circuits and record your findings in truth tables.
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?
This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.