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. . . .
Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers
the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.
A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect
square - can you explain why?
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?
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. . . .
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
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?
Find the largest integer which divides every member of the
following sequence: 1^5-1, 2^5-2, 3^5-3, ... n^5-n.
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 diagram shows a regular pentagon with sides of unit length.
Find all the angles in the diagram. Prove that the quadrilateral
shown in red is a rhombus.
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
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?
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. . . .
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten.
Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
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.
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
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.
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.
Explore what happens when you draw graphs of quadratic equations
with coefficients based on a geometric sequence.
What is the area of the quadrilateral APOQ? Working on the building
blocks will give you some insights that may help you to work it
In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a
surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces
(top, bottom, front and back) is equal?
The diagonal of a square intersects the line joining one of the unused corners to the midpoint of the opposite side. What do you notice about the line segments produced?
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?
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.
A composite number is one that is neither prime nor 1. Show that
10201 is composite in any base.
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?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
What fractions can you divide the diagonal of a square into by simple folding?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
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?
Four jewellers possessing respectively eight rubies, ten saphires,
a hundred pearls and five diamonds, presented, each from his own
stock, one apiece to the rest in token of regard; and they. . . .
If a two digit number has its digits reversed and the smaller of the two numbers is subtracted from the larger, prove the difference can never be prime.
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the
numbers is always less than one plus their product?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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.
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.
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. . . .
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy
pyramid whose top number is 200.
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?
This article looks at knight's moves on a chess board and introduces you to the idea of vectors and vector addition.
It is impossible to trisect an angle using only ruler and compasses
but it can be done using a carpenter's square.
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. . . .