Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Prove that if a^2+b^2 is a multiple of 3 then both a and b are multiples of 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
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?
Find some triples of whole numbers a, b and c such that a^2 + b^2 + c^2 is a multiple of 4. Is it necessarily the case that a, b and c must all be even? If so, can you explain why?
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
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?
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.
Prove that, given any three parallel lines, an equilateral triangle
always exists with one vertex on each of the three lines.
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the
numbers is always less than one plus their product?
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. . . .
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?
Prove that if the integer n is divisible by 4 then it can be written as the difference of two squares.
The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect
square - can you explain why?
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How
many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third
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.
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.
A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.
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.
We have exactly 100 coins. There are five different values of
coins. We have decided to buy a piece of computer software for
39.75. We have the correct money, not a penny more, not a penny
less! Can. . . .
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?
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
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.
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.
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.
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
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?
There are 12 identical looking coins, one of which is a fake. The
counterfeit coin is of a different weight to the rest. What is the
minimum number of weighings needed to locate the fake coin?
What can you say about the angles on opposite vertices of any
cyclic quadrilateral? Working on the building blocks will give you
insights that may help you to explain what is special about them.
L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of
themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Clearly if a, b and c are the lengths of the sides of a triangle and the triangle is equilateral then
a^2 + b^2 + c^2 = ab + bc + ca. Is the converse true, and if so can you prove it? That is if. . . .
Which of these roads will satisfy a Munchkin builder?
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. . . .
Six points are arranged in space so that no three are collinear.
How many line segments can be formed by joining the points in
If you think that mathematical proof is really clearcut and
universal then you should read this article.
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?
Four identical right angled triangles are drawn on the sides of a
square. Two face out, two face in. Why do the four vertices marked
with dots lie on one line?
Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of
11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct
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. . . .
Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less
than, the square of their means?