Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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.
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?
A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.
Can you work through these direct proofs, using our interactive
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 knight's move on a chess board is 2 steps in one direction and one step in the other direction. Prove that a knight cannot visit every square on the board once and only (a tour) on a 2 by n board. . . .
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. . . .
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. . . .
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. . . .
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.
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and
A connected graph is a graph in which we can get from any vertex to any other by travelling along the edges. A tree is a connected graph with no closed circuits (or loops. Prove that every tree has. . . .
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of
the first six cube numbers?
Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
I want some cubes painted with three blue faces and three red faces. How many different cubes can be painted like that?
Can you work out where the blue-and-red brick roads end?
If you think that mathematical proof is really clearcut and
universal then you should read this article.
What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller
circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?
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
Find the positive integer solutions of the equation (1+1/a)(1+1/b)(1+1/c) = 2
Professor Korner has generously supported school mathematics for more than 30 years and has been a good friend to NRICH since it started.
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.
The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope
trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!
Suppose A always beats B and B always beats C, then would you
expect A to beat C? Not always! What seems obvious is not always
true. Results always need to be proved in mathematics.
The country Sixtania prints postage stamps with only three values 6 lucres, 10 lucres and 15 lucres (where the currency is in lucres).Which values cannot be made up with combinations of these postage. . . .
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.
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. . . .
Explain why, when moving heavy objects on rollers, the object moves
twice as fast as the rollers. Try a similar experiment yourself.
What can you say about the lengths of the sides of a quadrilateral whose vertices are on a unit circle?
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?
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.
Here is a proof of Euler's formula in the plane and on a sphere together with projects to explore cases of the formula for a polygon with holes, for the torus and other solids with holes and the. . . .
Imagine two identical cylindrical pipes meeting at right angles and think about the shape of the space which belongs to both pipes. Early Chinese mathematicians call this shape the mouhefanggai.
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show
that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the
numbers is always less than one plus their product?
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?
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
By considering powers of (1+x), show that the sum of the squares of
the binomial coefficients from 0 to n is 2nCn
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. . . .
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.
How many tours visit each vertex of a cube once and only once? How
many return to the starting point?
This is an interactivity in which you have to sort into the correct
order the steps in the proof of the formula for the sum of a
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?
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.
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. . . .
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?
The first of five articles concentrating on whole number dynamics, ideas of general dynamical systems are introduced and seen in concrete cases.
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.