Take any two positive numbers. Calculate the arithmetic and geometric means. Repeat the calculations to generate a sequence of arithmetic means and geometric means. Make a note of what happens to the. . . .
Imagine you have a large supply of 3kg and 8kg weights. How many of each weight would you need for the average (mean) of the weights to be 6kg? What other averages could you have?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten.
Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
Watch this video to see how to roll the dice. Now it's your turn! What do you notice about the dice numbers you have recorded?
Can you explain how this card trick works?
Charlie and Abi put a counter on 42. They wondered if they could visit all the other numbers on their 1-100 board, moving the counter using just these two operations: x2 and -5. What do you think?
Spotting patterns can be an important first step - explaining why it is appropriate to generalise is the next step, and often the most interesting and important.
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both
has increased. How can this be so?
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two numbers...
Take any whole number between 1 and 999, add the squares of the
digits to get a new number. Make some conjectures about what
happens in general.
A country has decided to have just two different coins, 3z and 5z
coins. Which totals can be made? Is there a largest total that
cannot be made? How do you know?
What happens if you join every second point on this circle? How
about every third point? Try with different steps and see if you
can predict what will happen.
Here are some arrangements of circles. How many circles would I need to make the next size up for each? Can you create your own arrangement and investigate the number of circles it needs?
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers?
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the
quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
How many centimetres of rope will I need to make another mat just
like the one I have here?
Can you put the numbers 1-5 in the V shape so that both 'arms' have the same total?
We can show that (x + 1)² = x² + 2x + 1 by considering
the area of an (x + 1) by (x + 1) square. Show in a similar way
that (x + 2)² = x² + 4x + 4
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she
does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are
the three numbers Jo had to start with?”
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
A game for two people, or play online. Given a target number, say 23, and a range of numbers to choose from, say 1-4, players take it in turns to add to the running total to hit their target.
Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players
take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single
pile. The winner is the player to take the last counter.
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with
a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a
layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
In this problem we are looking at sets of parallel sticks that
cross each other. What is the least number of crossings you can
make? And the greatest?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
Place the numbers from 1 to 9 in the squares below so that the difference between joined squares is odd. How many different ways can you do this?
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right
hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of
In this game for two players, the idea is to take it in turns to choose 1, 3, 5 or 7. The winner is the first to make the total 37.
This activity involves rounding four-digit numbers to the nearest thousand.
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.