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. . . .
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. . . .
The problem is how did Archimedes calculate the lengths of the sides of the polygons which needed him to be able to calculate square roots?
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. . . .
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
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 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. . . .
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
Can you find all the 4-ball shuffles?
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. . . .
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
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?
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. . . .
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.
Your partner chooses two beads and places them side by side behind a screen. What is the minimum number of guesses you would need to be sure of guessing the two beads and their positions?
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner circle.
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. . . .
Start with any triangle T1 and its inscribed circle. Draw the
triangle T2 which has its vertices at the points of contact between
the triangle T1 and its incircle. Now keep repeating this. . . .
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. . . .
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.
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
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
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on
the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you
The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect
square - can you explain why?
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.
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.
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.
Three frogs hopped onto the table. A red frog on the left a green in the middle and a blue frog on the right. Then frogs started jumping randomly over any adjacent frog. Is it possible for them to. . . .
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.
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?
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?
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. . . .
Six points are arranged in space so that no three are collinear.
How many line segments can be formed by joining the points in
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?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
A connected graph is a graph in which we can get from any vertex to
any other by travelling along the edges. A tree is a connected
graph with no closed circuits (or loops. Prove that every tree. . . .
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 introduction to how patterns can be deceiving, and what is and is not a proof.
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. . . .
The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope
trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!
Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
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.
Imagine two identical cylindrical pipes meeting at right angles and think about the shape of the space which belongs to both pipes. Early Chinese mathematicians call this shape the mouhefanggai.
Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?