Sets of integers like 3, 4, 5 are called Pythagorean Triples, because they could be the lengths of the sides of a right-angled triangle. Can you find any more?
ABC and DEF are equilateral triangles of side 3 and 4 respectively. Construct an equilateral triangle whose area is the sum of the area of ABC and DEF.
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
What is the ratio of the area of a square inscribed in a semicircle to the area of the square inscribed in the entire circle?
Can you find a general rule for finding the areas of equilateral triangles drawn on an isometric grid?
Show that for any triangle it is always possible to construct 3
touching circles with centres at the vertices. Is it possible to
construct touching circles centred at the vertices of any polygon?
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
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.
Triangle ABC is an equilateral triangle with three parallel lines going through the vertices. Calculate the length of the sides of the triangle if the perpendicular distances between the parallel. . . .
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
With one cut a piece of card 16 cm by 9 cm can be made into two pieces which can be rearranged to form a square 12 cm by 12 cm. Explain how this can be done.
An AP rectangle is one whose area is numerically equal to its perimeter. If you are given the length of a side can you always find an AP rectangle with one side the given length?
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
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?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
A game for 2 players
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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.
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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 we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
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.
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.
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. . . .
Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down
all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur
most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .
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.
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?
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?
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
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
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
Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated
the difference between square numbers?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit
fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
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?