Six points are arranged in space so that no three are collinear.
How many line segments can be formed by joining the points in
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?
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?
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?
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. . . .
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.
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner circle.
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?
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.
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?
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?
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
This jar used to hold perfumed oil. It contained enough oil to fill
granid silver bottles. Each bottle held enough to fill ozvik golden
goblets and each goblet held enough to fill vaswik crystal. . . .
Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy
pyramid whose top number is 200.
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.
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the
numbers is always less than one plus their product?
Write down a three-digit number Change the order of the digits to
get a different number Find the difference between the two three
digit numbers Follow the rest of the instructions then try. . . .
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
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. . . .
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How
many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third
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. . . .
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
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.
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
Nine cross country runners compete in a team competition in which
there are three matches. If you were a judge how would you decide
who would win?
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
What can you say about the angles on opposite vertices of any
cyclic quadrilateral? Working on the building blocks will give you
insights that may help you to explain what is special about them.
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
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. . . .
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.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.
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. . . .
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. . . .
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
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.
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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. . . .
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 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.
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 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.
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. . . .
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?
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.
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.