Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.

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

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?

It is obvious that we can fit four circles of diameter 1 unit in a square of side 2 without overlapping. What is the smallest square into which we can fit 3 circles of diameter 1 unit?

Prove that, given any three parallel lines, an equilateral triangle always exists with one vertex on each of the three lines.

Find the missing angle between the two secants to the circle when the two angles at the centre subtended by the arcs created by the intersections of the secants and the circle are 50 and 120 degrees.

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?

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

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.

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. . . .

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 problem is how did Archimedes calculate the lengths of the sides of the polygons which needed him to be able to calculate square roots?

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

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

An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.

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.

This is the second of two articles and discusses problems relating to the curvature of space, shortest distances on surfaces, triangulations of surfaces and representation by graphs.

A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.

This is an interactivity in which you have to sort the steps in the completion of the square into the correct order to prove the formula for the solutions of quadratic equations.

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...

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.

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.

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. . . .

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.

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...

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.

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.

Can you explain why a sequence of operations always gives you perfect squares?

Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?

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?

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?

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?

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

If you think that mathematical proof is really clearcut and universal then you should read this article.

The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!

This shape comprises four semi-circles. What is the relationship between the area of the shaded region and the area of the circle on AB as diameter?

I am exactly n times my daughter's age. In m years I shall be ... How old am I?

Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.

L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?

The knight's move on a chess board is 2 steps in one direction and one step in the other direction. Prove that a knight cannot visit every square on the board once and only (a tour) on a 2 by n board. . . .

The largest square which fits into a circle is ABCD and EFGH is a square with G and H on the line CD and E and F on the circumference of the circle. Show that AB = 5EF. Similarly the largest. . . .

Find the largest integer which divides every member of the following sequence: 1^5-1, 2^5-2, 3^5-3, ... n^5-n.

Patterns that repeat in a line are strangely interesting. How many types are there and how do you tell one type from another?

Prove that if a^2+b^2 is a multiple of 3 then both a and b are multiples of 3.

What can you say about the lengths of the sides of a quadrilateral whose vertices are on a unit circle?

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. . . .

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

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.