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. . . .
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. . . .
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. . . .
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How
many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third
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.
This jar used to hold perfumed oil. It contained enough oil to fill
granid silver bottles. Each bottle held enough to fill ozvik golden
goblets and each goblet held enough to fill vaswik crystal. . . .
Choose any three by three square of dates on a calendar page...
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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.
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
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.
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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. . . .
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 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.
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.
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.
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
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.
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
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.
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.
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?
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?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?
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.
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
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. . . .
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
Can you find all the 4-ball shuffles?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
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
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Use your logical reasoning to work out how many cows and how many
sheep there are in each field.
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.