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. . . .
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
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.
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?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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?
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
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. . . .
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.
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. . . .
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
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?
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
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 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 find all the 4-ball shuffles?
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.
ABC is an equilateral triangle and P is a point in the interior of
the triangle. We know that AP = 3cm and BP = 4cm. Prove that CP
must be less than 10 cm.
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?
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?
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.
Liam's house has a staircase with 12 steps. He can go down the steps one at a time or two at time. In how many different ways can Liam go down the 12 steps?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
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.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
A standard die has the numbers 1, 2 and 3 are opposite 6, 5 and 4 respectively so that opposite faces add to 7? If you make standard dice by writing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on blank cubes you will find. . . .
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?
Which hexagons tessellate?
A game for 2 players that can be played online. Players take it in turns to select a word from the 9 words given. The aim is to select all the occurrences of the same letter.
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?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock
face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions
differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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. . . .
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
Make an eight by eight square, the layout is the same as a
chessboard. You can print out and use the square below. What is the
area of the square? Divide the square in the way shown by the red
dashed. . . .
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?