The largest square which fits into a circle is ABCD and EFGH is a square with G and H on the line CD and E and F on the circumference of the circle. Show that AB = 5EF.
Similarly the largest. . . .
A point moves around inside a rectangle. What are the least and the
greatest values of the sum of the squares of the distances from the
It is obvious that we can fit four circles of diameter 1 unit in a square of side 2 without overlapping. What is the smallest square into which we can fit 3 circles of diameter 1 unit?
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
Prove that the shaded area of the semicircle is equal to the area of the inner circle.
Choose any two numbers. Call them a and b. Work out the arithmetic mean and the geometric mean. Which is bigger? Repeat for other pairs of numbers. What do you notice?
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. . . .
This shape comprises four semi-circles. What is the relationship
between the area of the shaded region and the area of the circle on
AB as diameter?
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
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. . . .
Can you find the value of this function involving algebraic
fractions for x=2000?
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the
numbers is always less than one plus their product?
A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.
The picture illustrates the sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (4 x 5)/2. Prove the general formula for the sum of the first n natural numbers and the formula for the sum of the cubes of the first n natural. . . .
Explain why, when moving heavy objects on rollers, the object moves
twice as fast as the rollers. Try a similar experiment yourself.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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?
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?
Prove Pythagoras Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.
Three frogs hopped onto the table. A red frog on the left a green in the middle and a blue frog on the right. Then frogs started jumping randomly over any adjacent frog. Is it possible for them to. . . .
The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect
square - can you explain why?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of
the first six cube numbers?
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.
This article discusses how every Pythagorean triple (a, b, c) can be illustrated by a square and an L shape within another square. You are invited to find some triples for yourself.
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
Follow the hints and prove Pick's Theorem.
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.
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.
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.
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. . . .
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!
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.
If you take two tests and get a marks out of a maximum b in the first and c marks out of d in the second, does the mediant (a+c)/(b+d)lie between the results for the two tests separately.
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
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
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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.
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.
Take any rectangle ABCD such that AB > BC. The point P is on AB
and Q is on CD. Show that there is exactly one position of P and Q
such that APCQ is a rhombus.
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. . . .
These proofs are wrong. Can you see why?
Mark a point P inside a closed curve. Is it always possible to find
two points that lie on the curve, such that P is the mid point of
the line joining these two points?
A circle has centre O and angle POR = angle QOR. Construct tangents
at P and Q meeting at T. Draw a circle with diameter OT. Do P and Q
lie inside, or on, or outside this circle?
Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct
Four identical right angled triangles are drawn on the sides of a
square. Two face out, two face in. Why do the four vertices marked
with dots lie on one line?
Can you work through these direct proofs, using our interactive
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
Have a go at being mathematically negative, by negating these
Can you invert the logic to prove these statements?