Here are three 'tricks' to amaze your friends. But the really clever trick is explaining to them why these 'tricks' are maths not magic. Like all good magicians, you should practice by trying. . . .

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?

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

Prove that if the integer n is divisible by 4 then it can be written as the difference of two squares.

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?

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. . . .

Which set of numbers that add to 10 have the largest product?

Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third places?

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

Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.

Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?

How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?

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.

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?

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.

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...

Factorial one hundred (written 100!) has 24 noughts when written in full and that 1000! has 249 noughts? Convince yourself that the above is true. Perhaps your methodology will help you find the. . . .

Take any pair of two digit numbers x=ab and y=cd where, without loss of generality, ab > cd . Form two 4 digit numbers r=abcd and s=cdab and calculate: {r^2 - s^2} /{x^2 - y^2}.

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. . . .

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.

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

Clearly if a, b and c are the lengths of the sides of a triangle and the triangle is equilateral then a^2 + b^2 + c^2 = ab + bc + ca. Is the converse true, and if so can you prove it? That is if. . . .

Take any whole number q. Calculate q^2 - 1. Factorize q^2-1 to give two factors a and b (not necessarily q+1 and q-1). Put c = a + b + 2q . Then you will find that ab+1 , bc+1 and ca+1 are all. . . .

A composite number is one that is neither prime nor 1. Show that 10201 is composite in any base.

Euler found four whole numbers such that the sum of any two of the numbers is a perfect square. Three of the numbers that he found are a = 18530, b=65570, c=45986. Find the fourth number, x. You. . . .

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. . . .

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.

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?

Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less than, the square of their means?

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. . . .

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

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

There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?

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.

Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?

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 arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?

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 out.

Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?

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.

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?

Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.

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. . . .