A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
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?
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.
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
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.
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
A package contains a set of resources designed to develop
pupils’ mathematical thinking. This package places a
particular emphasis on “generalising” and is designed
to meet the. . . .
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.
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
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?
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle
numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the
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?
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect
squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
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.
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.
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.
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. . . .
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
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?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative 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.
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?
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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. . . .
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
For this challenge, you'll need to play Got It! Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
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 you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Is there a relationship between the coordinates of the endpoints of a line and the number of grid squares it crosses?
Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated
the difference between square numbers?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. 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?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
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. . . .
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?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?