Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
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?
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 convince me of each of the following: If a square number is multiplied by a square number the product is ALWAYS a square number...
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. . . .
You can work out the number someone else is thinking of as follows. Ask a friend to think of any natural number less than 100. Then ask them to tell you the remainders when this number is divided by. . . .
How many noughts are at the end of these giant numbers?
This addition sum uses all ten digits 0, 1, 2...9 exactly once. Find the sum and show that the one you give is the only possibility.
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?
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
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?
In the following sum the letters A, B, C, D, E and F stand for six distinct digits. Find all the ways of replacing the letters with digits so that the arithmetic is correct.
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
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?
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 we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Choose any three by three square of dates on a calendar page...
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. . . .
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?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
Prove that if a^2+b^2 is a multiple of 3 then both a and b are multiples of 3.
Blue Flibbins are so jealous of their red partners that they will not leave them on their own with any other bue Flibbin. What is the quickest way of getting the five pairs of Flibbins safely to. . . .
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.
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. . . .
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.
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect square - can you explain why?
Three dice are placed in a row. Find a way to turn each one so that the three numbers on top of the dice total the same as the three numbers on the front of the dice. Can you find all the ways to do. . . .
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.
Find the largest integer which divides every member of the following sequence: 1^5-1, 2^5-2, 3^5-3, ... n^5-n.
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
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.
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. . . .
Take any prime number greater than 3 , square it and subtract one. Working on the building blocks will help you to explain what is special about your results.
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?
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
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.
Prove that if the integer n is divisible by 4 then it can be written as the difference of two squares.
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
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?
Which hexagons tessellate?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?