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. . . .
Draw a 'doodle' - a closed intersecting curve drawn without taking pencil from paper. What can you prove about the intersections?
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. . . .
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. . . .
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
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. . . .
The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect
square - can you explain why?
Six points are arranged in space so that no three are collinear.
How many line segments can be formed by joining the points in
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
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 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 introduction to how patterns can be deceiving, and what is and is not a proof.
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. . . .
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?
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. . . .
I want some cubes painted with three blue faces and three red faces. How many different cubes can be painted like that?
In this third of five articles we prove that whatever whole number we start with for the Happy Number sequence we will always end up with some set of numbers being repeated over and over again.
This article extends the discussions in "Whole number dynamics I". Continuing the proof that, for all starting points, the Happy Number sequence goes into a loop or homes in on a fixed point.
The first of five articles concentrating on whole number dynamics, ideas of general dynamical systems are introduced and seen in concrete cases.
This article discusses how every Pythagorean triple (a, b, c) can be illustrated by a square and an L shape within another square. You are invited to find some triples for yourself.
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
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. . . .
The final of five articles which containe the proof of why the sequence introduced in article IV either reaches the fixed point 0 or the sequence enters a repeating cycle of four values.
In this 7-sandwich: 7 1 3 1 6 4 3 5 7 2 4 6 2 5 there are 7 numbers between the 7s, 6 between the 6s etc. The article shows which values of n can make n-sandwiches and which cannot.
Start with any whole number N, write N as a multiple of 10 plus a remainder R and produce a new whole number N'. Repeat. What happens?
This article looks at knight's moves on a chess board and introduces you to the idea of vectors and vector addition.
Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers
the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.
How many noughts are at the end of these giant numbers?
Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less
than, the square of their means?
Three points A, B and C lie in this order on a line, and P is any
point in the plane. Use the Cosine Rule to prove the following
Four jewellers share their stock. Can you work out the relative values of their gems?
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. . . .
Explore the continued fraction: 2+3/(2+3/(2+3/2+...)) What do you
notice when successive terms are taken? What happens to the terms
if the fraction goes on indefinitely?
Prove that if a^2+b^2 is a multiple of 3 then both a and b are multiples of 3.
It is impossible to trisect an angle using only ruler and compasses
but it can be done using a carpenter's square.
The first of two articles on Pythagorean Triples which asks how many right angled triangles can you find with the lengths of each side exactly a whole number measurement. Try it!
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
What can you say about the lengths of the sides of a quadrilateral whose vertices are on a unit circle?
Find the largest integer which divides every member of the
following sequence: 1^5-1, 2^5-2, 3^5-3, ... n^5-n.
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner circle.
Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?
What fractions can you divide the diagonal of a square into by simple folding?
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
You have twelve weights, one of which is different from the rest.
Using just 3 weighings, can you identify which weight is the odd
one out, and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest?
The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope
trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!
An iterative method for finding the value of the Golden Ratio with explanations of how this involves the ratios of Fibonacci numbers and continued fractions.