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?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
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.
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
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?
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 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?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
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.
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy
pyramid whose top number is 200.
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?
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
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?
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. . . .
Three teams have each played two matches. The table gives the total
number points and goals scored for and against each team. Fill in
the table and find the scores in the three matches.
Three dice are placed in a row. Find a way to turn each one so that
the three numbers on top of the dice total the same as the three
numbers on the front of the dice. Can you find all the ways 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. . . .
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.
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
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.
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?
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.
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
Choose any three by three square of dates on a calendar page.
Circle any number on the top row, put a line through the other
numbers that are in the same row and column as your circled number.
Repeat. . . .
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there
cannot be more than three acute angles.
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
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. . . .
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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. . . .
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
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?
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.
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?
Can you find all the 4-ball shuffles?
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?
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
Is it true that any convex hexagon will tessellate if it has a pair
of opposite sides that are equal, and three adjacent angles that
add up to 360 degrees?
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How
many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third
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?
Blue Flibbins are so jealous of their red partners that they will
not leave them on their own with any other bue Flibbin. What is the
quickest way of getting the five pairs of Flibbins safely to. . . .
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.
Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?
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?
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.
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. . . .