Patterns that repeat in a line are strangely interesting. How many types are there and how do you tell one type from another?
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.
Do you know how to find the area of a triangle? You can count the
squares. What happens if we turn the triangle on end? Press the
button and see. Try counting the number of units in the triangle
now. . . .
This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
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?
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?
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
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.
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of
the first six cube numbers?
A paradox is a statement that seems to be both untrue and true at the same time. This article looks at a few examples and challenges you to investigate them 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. . . .
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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. . . .
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.
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 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. . . .
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.
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Can you find all the 4-ball shuffles?
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
Make an eight by eight square, the layout is the same as a
chessboard. You can print out and use the square below. What is the
area of the square? Divide the square in the way shown by the red
dashed. . . .
Make a set of numbers that use all the digits from 1 to 9, once and
once only. Add them up. The result is divisible by 9. Add each of
the digits in the new number. What is their sum? Now try some. . . .
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?
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, 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?
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?
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How
many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner circle.
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. . . .
A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.
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?
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
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?
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?
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
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.
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show
that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
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?
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy
pyramid whose top number is 200.
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. . . .
Points A, B and C are the centres of three circles, each one of which touches the other two. Prove that the perimeter of the triangle ABC is equal to the diameter of the largest circle.
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
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.
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?
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.
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?