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

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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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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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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 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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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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AP Rectangles

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

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?

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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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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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Harmonic Triangle

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

Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?

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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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Repeaters

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

Choose any 3 digits and make a 6 digit number by repeating the 3 digits in the same order (e.g. 594594). Explain why whatever digits you choose the number will always be divisible by 7, 11 and 13.

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Three Times Seven

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

A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?

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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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Steel Cables

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?

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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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Mini-max

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

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. . . .

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Lower Bound

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =

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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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Enclosing Squares

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

Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?

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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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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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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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Got It

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

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.

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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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Frogs

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?

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More Twisting and Turning

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

It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...

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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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Christmas Chocolates

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

How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?

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Handshakes

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

Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?

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Mystic Rose

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

Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.

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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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Partially Painted Cube

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

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?

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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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Got it for Two

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

Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?

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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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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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Magic Letters

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?

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Egyptian Fractions

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

The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written different fractions.

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Keep it Simple

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?

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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?

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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?