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.
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.
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
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.
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. . . .
Can you find all the 4-ball shuffles?
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?
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.
Choose any two numbers. Call them a and b. Work out the arithmetic mean and the geometric mean. Which is bigger? Repeat for other pairs of numbers. What do you notice?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?
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. . . .
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.
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. . . .
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
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. . . .
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. . . .
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?
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.
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How
many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner 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. . . .
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
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?
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.
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?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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.
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. . . .
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
Six points are arranged in space so that no three are collinear.
How many line segments can be formed by joining the points in
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?
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. . . .
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy
pyramid whose top number is 200.
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. . . .
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?
Do you know how to find the area of a triangle? You can count the
squares. What happens if we turn the triangle on end? Press the
button and see. Try counting the number of units in the triangle
now. . . .
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
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 see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of
the first six cube numbers?
The picture illustrates the sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (4 x 5)/2. Prove the general formula for the sum of the first n natural numbers and the formula for the sum of the cubes of the first n natural. . . .
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Is it true that any convex hexagon will tessellate if it has a pair
of opposite sides that are equal, and three adjacent angles that
add up to 360 degrees?
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.
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?
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?
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...