It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written
The sum of the numbers 4 and 1 [1/3] is the same as the product of 4 and 1 [1/3]; that is to say 4 + 1 [1/3] = 4 × 1 [1/3]. What other numbers have the sum equal to the product and can this be so for. . . .
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
Find some examples of pairs of numbers such that their sum is a
factor of their product. eg. 4 + 12 = 16 and 4 × 12 = 48 and
16 is a factor of 48.
While we were sorting some papers we found 3 strange sheets which
seemed to come from small books but there were page numbers at the
foot of each page. Did the pages come from the same book?
Take a counter and surround it by a ring of other counters that
MUST touch two others. How many are needed?
How can you arrange these 10 matches in four piles so that when you
move one match from three of the piles into the fourth, you end up
with the same arrangement?
Delight your friends with this cunning trick! Can you explain how
Can you continue this pattern of triangles and begin to predict how many sticks are used for each new "layer"?
Watch this film carefully. Can you find a general rule for
explaining when the dot will be this same distance from the
Use the interactivity to investigate what kinds of triangles can be
drawn on peg boards with different numbers of pegs.
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
Polygonal numbers are those that are arranged in shapes as they enlarge. Explore the polygonal numbers drawn here.
In each of the pictures the invitation is for you to: Count what you see. Identify how you think the pattern would continue.
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10
Can you dissect an equilateral triangle into 6 smaller ones? What
number of smaller equilateral triangles is it NOT possible to
dissect a larger equilateral triangle into?
In a Magic Square all the rows, columns and diagonals add to the 'Magic Constant'. How would you change the magic constant of this square?
Can you make dice stairs using the rules stated? How do you know you have all the possible stairs?
These squares have been made from Cuisenaire rods. Can you describe
the pattern? What would the next square look like?
Compare the numbers of particular tiles in one or all of these
three designs, inspired by the floor tiles of a church in
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?
Think of a number, square it and subtract your starting number. Is the number youâ€™re left with odd or even? How do the images help to explain this?
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?
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
Here are two kinds of spirals for you to explore. What do you notice?
Can you put the numbers 1-5 in the V shape so that both 'arms' have the same total?
An investigation that gives you the opportunity to make and justify
Find out what a "fault-free" rectangle is and try to make some of
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?
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?
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
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.
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.
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
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?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both
has increased. How can this be so?
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
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
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?
Use two dice to generate two numbers with one decimal place. What happens when you round these numbers to the nearest whole number?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
What happens when you round these three-digit numbers to the nearest 100?
What happens when you round these numbers to the nearest whole number?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?