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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Mathematical reasoning & proof

Plus or Minus

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Make and prove a conjecture about the value of the product of the Fibonacci numbers $F_{n+1}F_{n-1}$.

Golden Eggs

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Find a connection between the shape of a special ellipse and an infinite string of nested square roots.

The Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Numbers and Continued Fractions.

Stage: 4

An iterative method for finding the value of the Golden Ratio with explanations of how this involves the ratios of Fibonacci numbers and continued fractions.

Pent

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

The diagram shows a regular pentagon with sides of unit length. Find all the angles in the diagram. Prove that the quadrilateral shown in red is a rhombus.

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

This is an interactivity in which you have to sort the steps in the completion of the square into the correct order to prove the formula for the solutions of quadratic equations.

Thousand Words

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Here the diagram says it all. Can you find the diagram?

Continued Fractions II

Stage: 5

In this article we show that every whole number can be written as a continued fraction of the form k/(1+k/(1+k/...)).

Target Six

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Show that x = 1 is a solution of the equation x^(3/2) - 8x^(-3/2) = 7 and find all other solutions.

How Many Solutions?

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Find all the solutions to the this equation.

Rational Roots

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Given that a, b and c are natural numbers show that if sqrt a+sqrt b is rational then it is a natural number. Extend this to 3 variables.

Whole Number Dynamics V

Stage: 4 and 5

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.

Pythagorean Triples II

Stage: 3 and 4

This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.

Where Do We Get Our Feet Wet?

Stage: 5

Professor Korner has generously supported school mathematics for more than 30 years and has been a good friend to NRICH since it started.

Whole Number Dynamics II

Stage: 4 and 5

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.

Proof of Pick's Theorem

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Follow the hints and prove Pick's Theorem.

Whole Number Dynamics III

Stage: 4 and 5

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.

Whole Number Dynamics IV

Stage: 4 and 5

Start with any whole number N, write N as a multiple of 10 plus a remainder R and produce a new whole number N'. Repeat. What happens?

Whole Number Dynamics I

Stage: 4 and 5

The first of five articles concentrating on whole number dynamics, ideas of general dynamical systems are introduced and seen in concrete cases.

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Find all positive integers a and b for which the two equations: x^2-ax+b = 0 and x^2-bx+a = 0 both have positive integer solutions.

Three Ways

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

If x + y = -1 find the largest value of xy by coordinate geometry, by calculus and by algebra.

Long Short

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

A quadrilateral inscribed in a unit circle has sides of lengths s1, s2, s3 and s4 where s1 ≤ s2 ≤ s3 ≤ s4. Find a quadrilateral of this type for which s1= sqrt2 and show s1 cannot. . . .

There's a Limit

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Explore the continued fraction: 2+3/(2+3/(2+3/2+...)) What do you notice when successive terms are taken? What happens to the terms if the fraction goes on indefinitely?

Square Mean

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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

Polite Numbers

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

A polite number can be written as the sum of two or more consecutive positive integers. Find the consecutive sums giving the polite numbers 544 and 424. What characterizes impolite numbers?

Mechanical Integration

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

To find the integral of a polynomial, evaluate it at some special points and add multiples of these values.

The Root Cause

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Prove that if a is a natural number and the square root of a is rational, then it is a square number (an integer n^2 for some integer n.)

Magic Squares II

Stage: 4 and 5

An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.

Binomial

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

By considering powers of (1+x), show that the sum of the squares of the binomial coefficients from 0 to n is 2nCn

Pythagorean Triples I

Stage: 3 and 4

The first of two articles on Pythagorean Triples which asks how many right angled triangles can you find with the lengths of each side exactly a whole number measurement. Try it!

Impossible Sandwiches

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

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.

Direct Logic

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Can you work through these direct proofs, using our interactive proof sorters?

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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

Iffy Logic

Stage: 4 Short Challenge Level:

Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?

The Great Weights Puzzle

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

You have twelve weights, one of which is different from the rest. Using just 3 weighings, can you identify which weight is the odd one out, and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest?

Contrary Logic

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Can you invert the logic to prove these statements?

Notty Logic

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Have a go at being mathematically negative, by negating these statements.

Dodgy Proofs

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

These proofs are wrong. Can you see why?

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.

The Clue Is in the Question

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

This problem is a sequence of linked mini-challenges leading up to the proof of a difficult final challenge, encouraging you to think mathematically. Starting with one of the mini-challenges, how. . . .

Symmetric Tangles

Stage: 4

The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!

Some Circuits in Graph or Network Theory

Stage: 4 and 5

Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.

Ordered Sums

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Let a(n) be the number of ways of expressing the integer n as an ordered sum of 1's and 2's. Let b(n) be the number of ways of expressing n as an ordered sum of integers greater than 1. (i) Calculate. . . .

More Sums of Squares

Stage: 5

Tom writes about expressing numbers as the sums of three squares.

Sums of Squares and Sums of Cubes

Stage: 5

An account of methods for finding whether or not a number can be written as the sum of two or more squares or as the sum of two or more cubes.

Number Rules - OK

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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...

Square Pair Circles

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Investigate the number of points with integer coordinates on circles with centres at the origin for which the square of the radius is a power of 5.

Water Pistols

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

With n people anywhere in a field each shoots a water pistol at the nearest person. In general who gets wet? What difference does it make if n is odd or even?

Perfectly Square

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect square - can you explain why?

Unit Interval

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the numbers is always less than one plus their product?

Recent Developments on S.P. Numbers

Stage: 5

Take a number, add its digits then multiply the digits together, then multiply these two results. If you get the same number it is an SP number.