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. . . .

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 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.

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 number...

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. . . .

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.

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 possibility.

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.

How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?

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 places?

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?

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.

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.

Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?

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.

Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?

What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.

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 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. . . .

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.

If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?

A composite number is one that is neither prime nor 1. Show that 10201 is composite in any base.

Prove that if the integer n is divisible by 4 then it can be written as the difference of two squares.

Take any pair of two digit numbers x=ab and y=cd where, without loss of generality, ab > cd . Form two 4 digit numbers r=abcd and s=cdab and calculate: {r^2 - s^2} /{x^2 - y^2}.

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?

Euler found four whole numbers such that the sum of any two of the numbers is a perfect square. Three of the numbers that he found are a = 18530, b=65570, c=45986. Find the fourth number, x. You. . . .

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.

Take any whole number q. Calculate q^2 - 1. Factorize q^2-1 to give two factors a and b (not necessarily q+1 and q-1). Put c = a + b + 2q . Then you will find that ab+1 , bc+1 and ca+1 are all. . . .

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?

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 pairs?

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?

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?

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. . . .

If you take two tests and get a marks out of a maximum b in the first and c marks out of d in the second, does the mediant (a+c)/(b+d)lie between the results for the two tests separately.

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.

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?