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. . . .
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. . . .
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. . . .
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and
two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
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.
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?
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.
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy
pyramid whose top number is 200.
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.
Choose any three by three square of dates on a calendar page...
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. . . .
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How
many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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?
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
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?
Euler found four whole numbers such that the sum of any two of the numbers is a perfect square...
Can you explain why a sequence of operations always gives you perfect squares?
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.
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Which hexagons tessellate?
Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?
Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less
than, the square of their means?
Four jewellers share their stock. Can you work out the relative values of their gems?
Can you find all the 4-ball shuffles?
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?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent
pair adds up to a square number?
Investigate the sequences obtained by starting with any positive 2
digit number (10a+b) and repeatedly using the rule 10a+b maps to
10b-a to get the next number in the sequence.
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 make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
I am exactly n times my daughter's age. In m years I shall be ... How old am I?
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.
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. . . .
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.
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in
this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord
which is tangent to the inner circle.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the
numbers is always less than one plus their product?
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. . . .
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?