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?
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.
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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?
Can you show that you can share a square pizza equally between two
people by cutting it four times using vertical, horizontal and
diagonal cuts through any point inside the square?
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
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.
Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she
does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are
the three numbers Jo had to start with?”
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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. . . .
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 a general rule for finding the areas of equilateral
triangles drawn on an isometric grid?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
Polygons drawn on square dotty paper have dots on their perimeter
(p) and often internal (i) ones as well. Find a relationship
between p, i and the area of the polygons.
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
Can you dissect a square into: 4, 7, 10, 13... other squares? 6, 9,
12, 15... other squares? 8, 11, 14... other squares?
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
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. . . .
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
The diagram shows a 5 by 5 geoboard with 25 pins set out in a square array. Squares are made by stretching rubber bands round specific pins. What is the total number of squares that can be made on a. . . .
What would be the smallest number of moves needed to move a Knight
from a chess set from one corner to the opposite corner of a 99 by
99 square board?
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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?
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated
the difference between square numbers?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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.
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 find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?
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. . . .
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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. . . .
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.
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.
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
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.
A game for 2 players
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
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?
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
What size square corners should be cut from a square piece of paper to make a box with the largest possible volume?