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. . . .
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
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
Look at three 'next door neighbours' amongst the counting numbers. Add them together. 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?
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?
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
Choose any three by three square of dates on a calendar page.
Circle any number on the top row, put a line through the other
numbers that are in the same row and column as your circled number.
Repeat. . . .
Three dice are placed in a row. Find a way to turn each one so that the three numbers on top of the dice total the same as the three numbers on the front of the dice. Can you find all the ways to do. . . .
Carry out cyclic permutations of nine digit numbers containing the
digits from 1 to 9 (until you get back to the first number). Prove
that whatever number you choose, they will add to the same total.
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
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.
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
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?
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How
many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third
From a group of any 4 students in a class of 30, each has exchanged
Christmas cards with the other three. Show that some students have
exchanged cards with all the other students in the class. How. . . .
Six points are arranged in space so that no three are collinear.
How many line segments can be formed by joining the points in
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. . . .
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy
pyramid whose top number is 200.
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. . . .
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?
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?
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. . . .
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?
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner circle.
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.
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
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.
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
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. . . .
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
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.
Nine cross country runners compete in a team competition in which
there are three matches. If you were a judge how would you decide
who would win?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
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.
What happens when you add three numbers together? Will your answer be odd or even? How do you know?
Which set of numbers that add to 10 have the largest product?
I start with a red, a blue, a green and a yellow marble. I can
trade any of my marbles for three others, one of each colour. Can I
end up with exactly two marbles of each colour?
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?
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.
I start with a red, a green and a blue marble. I can trade any of my marbles for two others, one of each colour. Can I end up with five more blue marbles than red after a number of such trades?
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.
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?