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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Generalising

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More Number Pyramids

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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

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What Numbers Can We Make Now?

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?

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Take Three from Five

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Caroline and James pick sets of five numbers. Charlie chooses three of them that add together to make a multiple of three. Can they stop him?

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Magic Squares II

Stage: 4 and 5

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

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Pair Products

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?

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AMGM

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Chocolate Maths

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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. . . .

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What's Possible?

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?

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Janine's Conjecture

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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. . . .

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Go Forth and Generalise

Stage: 3

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.

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Happy Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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.

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Tower of Hanoi

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.

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Reverse to Order

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Take any two digit number, for example 58. What do you have to do to reverse the order of the digits? Can you find a rule for reversing the order of digits for any two digit number?

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Areas of Parallelograms

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?

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Elevenses

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?

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Partitioning Revisited

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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

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Multiplication Square

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?

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Arithmagons

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?

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Card Trick 2

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you explain how this card trick works?

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Number Pyramids

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?

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Cubes Within Cubes Revisited

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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?

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Summing Consecutive Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Many numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers. For example, 15=7+8 and 10=1+2+3+4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed in this way?

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What Numbers Can We Make?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?

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Mind Reading

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Think of a number, add one, double it, take away 3, add the number you first thought of, add 7, divide by 3 and take away the number you first thought of. You should now be left with 2. How do I. . . .

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Plus Minus

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated the difference between square numbers?

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Converging Means

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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. . . .

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Beelines

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Is there a relationship between the coordinates of the endpoints of a line and the number of grid squares it crosses?

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Magic Squares

Stage: 4 and 5

An account of some magic squares and their properties and and how to construct them for yourself.

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Sum Equals Product

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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. . . .

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Mindreader

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .

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Adding in Rows

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

List any 3 numbers. It is always possible to find a subset of adjacent numbers that add up to a multiple of 3. Can you explain why and prove it?

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Multiplication Arithmagons

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?

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How Much Can We Spend?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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?

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Route to Infinity

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?

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One O Five

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

You can work out the number someone else is thinking of as follows. Ask a friend to think of any natural number less than 100. Then ask them to tell you the remainders when this number is divided by. . . .

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Nim-interactive

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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.

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Nim

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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 loser is the player who takes the last counter.

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Nim-like Games

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A collection of games on the NIM theme

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Jam

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

A game for 2 players

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Shear Magic

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?

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Picturing Triangle Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?

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Games Related to Nim

Stage: 1, 2, 3 and 4

This article for teachers describes several games, found on the site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to develop the skills of strategic planning.

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Special Sums and Products

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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.

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Picturing Square Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?

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Steps to the Podium

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!

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Winning Lines

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.

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Tourism

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable. Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.

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Painted Cube

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow paint on their faces?

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Konigsberg Plus

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.

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All Tangled Up

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?