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.

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. . . .

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. . . .

Semicircles are drawn on the sides of a rectangle ABCD. A circle passing through points ABCD carves out four crescent-shaped regions. Prove that the sum of the areas of the four crescents is equal to. . . .

Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the numbers is always less than one plus their product?

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?

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. . . .

When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...

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. . . .

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.

Show that if three prime numbers, all greater than 3, form an arithmetic progression then the common difference is divisible by 6. What if one of the terms is 3?

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 power.

Prove that if a^2+b^2 is a multiple of 3 then both a and b are multiples of 3.

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?

Janine noticed, while studying some cube numbers, that if you take three consecutive whole numbers and multiply them together and then add the middle number of the three, you get the middle number. . . .

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, B & C own a half, a third and a sixth of a coin collection. Each grab some coins, return some, then share equally what they had put back, finishing with their own share. How rich are they?

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. . . .

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.

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

Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?

Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?

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

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?

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.

This article looks at knight's moves on a chess board and introduces you to the idea of vectors and vector addition.

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.

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?

The first of five articles concentrating on whole number dynamics, ideas of general dynamical systems are introduced and seen in concrete cases.

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. . . .

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.

An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.

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?

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.

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.

This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.

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. . . .

Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.

Can you make sense of the three methods to work out the area of the kite in the square?

Find the largest integer which divides every member of the following sequence: 1^5-1, 2^5-2, 3^5-3, ... n^5-n.

Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?

A quadrilateral inscribed in a unit circle has sides of lengths s1, s2, s3 and s4 where s1 ≤ s2 ≤ s3 ≤ s4. Find a quadrilateral of this type for which s1= sqrt2 and show s1 cannot. . . .

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?

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

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!

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