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.
You can work out the number someone else is thinking of as follows. Ask a friend to think of any natural number less than 100. Then ask them to tell you the remainders when this number is divided by. . . .
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.
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Four of these clues are needed to find the chosen number on this
grid and four are true but do nothing to help in finding the
number. Can you sort out the clues and find the number?
Look at three 'next door neighbours' amongst the counting numbers. Add them together. What do you notice?
ABC is an equilateral triangle and P is a point in the interior of
the triangle. We know that AP = 3cm and BP = 4cm. Prove that CP
must be less than 10 cm.
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. . . .
You have been given nine weights, one of which is slightly heavier
than the rest. Can you work out which weight is heavier in just two
weighings of the balance?
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?
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
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?
A standard die has the numbers 1, 2 and 3 are opposite 6, 5 and 4 respectively so that opposite faces add to 7? If you make standard dice by writing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on blank cubes you will find. . . .
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
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. . . .
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Caroline and James pick sets of five numbers. Charlie chooses three of them that add together to make a multiple of three. Can they stop him?
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
Which hexagons tessellate?
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock
face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions
differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
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.
What happens when you add three numbers together? Will your answer be odd or even? How do you know?
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.
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
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.
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.
Can you find all the 4-ball shuffles?
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?
Take any two digit number, for example 58. What do you have to do to reverse the order of the digits? Can you find a rule for reversing the order of digits for any two digit number?
This addition sum uses all ten digits 0, 1, 2...9 exactly once.
Find the sum and show that the one you give is the only
Blue Flibbins are so jealous of their red partners that they will
not leave them on their own with any other bue Flibbin. What is the
quickest way of getting the five pairs of Flibbins safely to. . . .
In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a
surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces
(top, bottom, front and back) is equal?
Baker, Cooper, Jones and Smith are four people whose occupations
are teacher, welder, mechanic and programmer, but not necessarily
in that order. What is each person’s occupation?
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten.
Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
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. . . .
After some matches were played, most of the information in the
table containing the results of the games was accidentally deleted.
What was the score in each match played?
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
In the following sum the letters A, B, C, D, E and F stand for six
distinct digits. Find all the ways of replacing the letters with
digits so that the arithmetic is correct.
Arrange the numbers 1 to 16 into a 4 by 4 array. Choose a number.
Cross out the numbers on the same row and column. Repeat this
process. Add up you four numbers. Why do they always add up to 34?
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner circle.
Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems
give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical
concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.