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

Modulus Arithmetic and a Solution to Dirisibly Yours

Stage: 5

Peter Zimmerman from Mill Hill County High School in Barnet, London gives a neat proof that: 5^(2n+1) + 11^(2n+1) + 17^(2n+1) is divisible by 33 for every non negative integer n.

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?

To Prove or Not to Prove

Stage: 4 and 5

A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.

Diverging

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Show that for natural numbers x and y if x/y > 1 then x/y>(x+1)/(y+1}>1. Hence prove that the product for i=1 to n of [(2i)/(2i-1)] tends to infinity as n tends to infinity.

Basic Rhythms

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Explore a number pattern which has the same symmetries in different bases.

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.

Sprouts Explained

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5

This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .

Composite Notions

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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

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.

Take Three from Five

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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?

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.

Sperner's Lemma

Stage: 5

An article about the strategy for playing The Triangle Game which appears on the NRICH site. It contains a simple lemma about labelling a grid of equilateral triangles within a triangular frame.

Iffy Logic

Stage: 4 Short Challenge Level:

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

Dodgy Proofs

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

These proofs are wrong. Can you see why?

What Numbers Can We Make Now?

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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

Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

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

Mod 3

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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

Prime AP

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Show that if three prime numbers, all greater than 3, form an arithmetic progression then the common difference is divisible by 6. What if one of the terms is 3?

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.

More Sums of Squares

Stage: 5

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

Yih or Luk Tsut K'i or Three Men's Morris

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of knots and a little about prime knots, crossing numbers and. . . .

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.

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 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.

Magic W Wrap Up

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Prove that you cannot form a Magic W with a total of 12 or less or with a with a total of 18 or more.

Sixational

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Big, Bigger, Biggest

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Which is the biggest and which the smallest of $2000^{2002}, 2001^{2001} \text{and } 2002^{2000}$?

A Biggy

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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.

DOTS Division

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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}.

Pair Squares

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

The sum of any two of the numbers 2, 34 and 47 is a perfect square. Choose three square numbers and find sets of three integers with this property. Generalise to four integers.

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.

Why 24?

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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.

Modular Fractions

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

We only need 7 numbers for modulus (or clock) arithmetic mod 7 including working with fractions. Explore how to divide numbers and write fractions in modulus arithemtic.

Rolling Coins

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

A blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .

Magic Squares II

Stage: 4 and 5

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

Proof of Pick's Theorem

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Follow the hints and prove Pick's Theorem.

The Triangle Game

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Can you discover whether this is a fair game?

Symmetric Tangles

Stage: 4

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

Air Nets

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.

Binary Sequences

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Show that the infinite set of finite (or terminating) binary sequences can be written as an ordered list whereas the infinite set of all infinite binary sequences cannot.

Thousand Words

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

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

Cube Net

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

How many tours visit each vertex of a cube once and only once? How many return to the starting point?

Direct Logic

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

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

Contrary Logic

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Can you invert the logic to prove these statements?

Interpolating Polynomials

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Given a set of points (x,y) with distinct x values, find a polynomial that goes through all of them, then prove some results about the existence and uniqueness of these polynomials.

A Long Time at the Till

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?

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. . . .

Notty Logic

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

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