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 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. . . .

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?

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.

Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.

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. . . .

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?

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

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?

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.

The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.

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. . . .

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?

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.

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. . . .

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. . . .

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.

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. . . .

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 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.

The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect square - can you explain why?

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. . . .

Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?

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.

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. . . .

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.

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. . . .

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. . . .

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?

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?

A introduction to how patterns can be deceiving, and what is and is not a proof.

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. . . .

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?

The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!

Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry

Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.

L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?

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?

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