There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?

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?

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. . . .

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?

Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?

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. . . .

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

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. . . .

If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable. Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.

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. . . .

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?

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. . . .

I am exactly n times my daughter's age. In m years I shall be exactly (n-1) times her age. In m2 years I shall be exactly (n-2) times her age. After that I shall never again be an exact multiple of. . . .

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.

Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.

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

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.

In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces (top, bottom, front and back) is equal?

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.

Choose any three by three square of dates on a calendar page. Circle any number on the top row, put a line through the other numbers that are in the same row and column as your circled number. Repeat. . . .

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

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

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.

Prove that if the integer n is divisible by 4 then it can be written as the difference of two squares.

Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.

Take any pair of two digit numbers x=ab and y=cd where, without loss of generality, ab > cd . Form two 4 digit numbers r=abcd and s=cdab and calculate: {r^2 - s^2} /{x^2 - y^2}.

Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less than, the square of their means?

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.

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

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?

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?

Four jewellers possessing respectively eight rubies, ten saphires, a hundred pearls and five diamonds, presented, each from his own stock, one apiece to the rest in token of regard; and they. . . .

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.

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?

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. . . .

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?

In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...

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?

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.

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

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. . . .

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?

Three teams have each played two matches. The table gives the total number points and goals scored for and against each team. Fill in the table and find the scores in the three matches.

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

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?