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. . . .
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. . . .
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third places?
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. . . .
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. . . .
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord which is tangent to the inner circle.
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?
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?
Six points are arranged in space so that no three are collinear. How many line segments can be formed by joining the points in pairs?
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?
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
Draw some quadrilaterals on a 9-point circle and work out the angles. Is there a theorem?
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
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. . . .
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.
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
We have exactly 100 coins. There are five different values of coins. We have decided to buy a piece of computer software for 39.75. We have the correct money, not a penny more, not a penny less! Can. . . .
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.
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. . . .
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.
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?
Choose any three by three square of dates on a calendar page...
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.
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.
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 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. . . .
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. . . .
Make an eight by eight square, the layout is the same as a chessboard. You can print out and use the square below. What is the area of the square? Divide the square in the way shown by the red dashed. . . .
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?
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.
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Can you find all the 4-ball shuffles?
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 are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
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.
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 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. . . .
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.
Which hexagons tessellate?
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
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?
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
Which set of numbers that add to 10 have the largest product?
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 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?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
Three teams have each played two matches. The table gives the total number points and goals scored for and against each team. Fill in the table and find the scores in the three matches.
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?