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

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.

The Triangle Game

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Can you discover whether this is a fair game?

Thousand Words

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

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

Middle Man

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

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?

Direct Logic

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

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

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.

Pythagorean Triples II

Stage: 3 and 4

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

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Proof of Pick's Theorem

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Follow the hints and prove Pick's Theorem.

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.

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?

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

Natural Sum

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Picture Story

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?

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. . . .

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.

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.

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.

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?

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!

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.

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?

Plus or Minus

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

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

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.

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. . . .

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. . . .

Golden Eggs

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

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

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 orf two or more cubes.

Magic Squares II

Stage: 4 and 5

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

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.

Proofs with Pictures

Stage: 5

Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.

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?

More Number Pyramids

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...

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?

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. . . .

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Find all real solutions of the equation (x^2-7x+11)^(x^2-11x+30) = 1.

Integral Inequality

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

An inequality involving integrals of squares of functions.

Stage: 5 Short Challenge Level:

Can you work out where the blue-and-red brick roads end?

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.

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.