If you think that mathematical proof is really clearcut and
universal then you should read this article.
How many different cubes can be painted with three blue faces and
three red faces? A boy (using blue) and a girl (using red) paint
the faces of a cube in turn so that the six faces are painted. . . .
Three points A, B and C lie in this order on a line, and P is any
point in the plane. Use the Cosine Rule to prove the following
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
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. . . .
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
A composite number is one that is neither prime nor 1. Show that
10201 is composite in any base.
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
Take any rectangle ABCD such that AB > BC. The point P is on AB
and Q is on CD. Show that there is exactly one position of P and Q
such that APCQ is a rhombus.
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...
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.
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.
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
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. . . .
Find the largest integer which divides every member of the
following sequence: 1^5-1, 2^5-2, 3^5-3, ... n^5-n.
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
Prove that if a^2+b^2 is a multiple of 3 then both a and b are multiples of 3.
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy
pyramid whose top number is 200.
Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less
than, the square of their means?
Explore the continued fraction: 2+3/(2+3/(2+3/2+...)) What do you
notice when successive terms are taken? What happens to the terms
if the fraction goes on indefinitely?
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. . . .
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 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?
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?
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!
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.
It is impossible to trisect an angle using only ruler and compasses
but it can be done using a carpenter's square.
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. . . .
Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers
the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.
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 five articles concentrating on whole number dynamics, ideas of general dynamical systems are introduced and seen in concrete cases.
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.
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
This article stems from research on the teaching of proof and
offers guidance on how to move learners from focussing on
experimental arguments to mathematical arguments and deductive
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
What fractions can you divide the diagonal of a square into by
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
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?
Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct