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?
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.
Factorial one hundred (written 100!) has 24 noughts when written in full and that 1000! has 249 noughts? Convince yourself that the above is true. Perhaps your methodology will help you find the. . . .
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.
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.
Prove that if a^2+b^2 is a multiple of 3 then both a and b are multiples of 3.
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. . . .
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. . . .
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. . . .
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are 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.
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 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?
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. . . .
Let a(n) be the number of ways of expressing the integer n as an
ordered sum of 1's and 2's. Let b(n) be the number of ways of
expressing n as an ordered sum of integers greater than 1. (i)
Calculate. . . .
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.
A composite number is one that is neither prime nor 1. Show that
10201 is composite in any base.
Can you convince me of each of the following: If a square number is
multiplied by a square number the product is ALWAYS a square
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?
The country Sixtania prints postage stamps with only three values 6 lucres, 10 lucres and 15 lucres (where the currency is in lucres).Which values cannot be made up with combinations of these postage. . . .
A 'doodle' is a closed intersecting curve drawn without taking
pencil from paper. Only two lines cross at each intersection or
vertex (never 3), that is the vertex points must be 'double points'
not. . . .
The nth term of a sequence is given by the formula n^3 + 11n . Find
the first four terms of the sequence given by this formula and the
first term of the sequence which is bigger than one million. . . .
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How
many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third
Six points are arranged in space so that no three are collinear.
How many line segments can be formed by joining the points in
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. . . .
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?
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?
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
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 numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
If a two digit number has its digits reversed and the smaller of the two numbers is subtracted from the larger, prove the difference can never be prime.
The knight's move on a chess board is 2 steps in one direction and one step in the other direction. Prove that a knight cannot visit every square on the board once and only (a tour) on a 2 by n board. . . .
Prove that if the integer n is divisible by 4 then it can be written as the difference of two squares.
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?
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Take any prime number greater than 3 , square it and subtract one.
Working on the building blocks will help you to explain what is
special about your results.
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.
The first of five articles concentrating on whole number dynamics, ideas of general dynamical systems are introduced and seen in concrete cases.
How many different cubes can be painted with three blue faces and
three red faces? A boy (using blue) and a girl (using red) paint
the faces of a cube in turn so that the six faces are painted. . . .
Investigate the sequences obtained by starting with any positive 2
digit number (10a+b) and repeatedly using the rule 10a+b maps to
10b-a to get the next number in the sequence.
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?
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?
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?
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
I am exactly n times my daughter's age. In m years I shall be exactly (n-1) times her age. In m2 years I shall be exactly (n-2) times her age. After that I shall never again be an exact multiple of. . . .
Find the smallest positive integer N such that N/2 is a perfect
cube, N/3 is a perfect fifth power and N/5 is a perfect seventh