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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Advent Calendar 2011 - Secondary

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.

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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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Cyclic Quadrilaterals

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

What can you say about the angles on opposite vertices of any cyclic quadrilateral? Working on the building blocks will give you insights that may help you to explain what is special about them.

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Pythagoras Proofs

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

Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?

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Power Mad!

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

Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.

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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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Direct Logic

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you work through these direct proofs, using our interactive proof sorters?

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Contrary Logic

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you invert the logic to prove these statements?

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Iffy Logic

Stage: 4 Short Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?

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What Do You Need?

Stage: 2 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Four of these clues are needed to find the chosen number on this grid and four are true but do nothing to help in finding the number. Can you sort out the clues and find the number?

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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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Salinon

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This shape comprises four semi-circles. What is the relationship between the area of the shaded region and the area of the circle on AB as diameter?

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Seven Squares - Group-worthy Task

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

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?

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Perfectly Square

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

The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect square - can you explain why?

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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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Always Perfect

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

Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.

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Children at Large

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

There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?

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For What?

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

Prove that if the integer n is divisible by 4 then it can be written as the difference of two squares.

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Leonardo's Problem

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

A, B & C own a half, a third and a sixth of a coin collection. Each grab some coins, return some, then share equally what they had put back, finishing with their own share. How rich are they?

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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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Power Quady

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Find all real solutions of the equation (x^2-7x+11)^(x^2-11x+30) = 1.

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Largest Product

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Which set of numbers that add to 10 have the largest product?

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Proof Sorter - Sum of an AP

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Use this interactivity to sort out the steps of the proof of the formula for the sum of an arithmetic series. The 'thermometer' will tell you how you are doing

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Proof Sorter - Quadratic Equation

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

This is an interactivity in which you have to sort the steps in the completion of the square into the correct order to prove the formula for the solutions of quadratic equations.

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Proofs with Pictures

Stage: 5

Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.

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Telescoping Functions

Stage: 5

Take a complicated fraction with the product of five quartics top and bottom and reduce this to a whole number. This is a numerical example involving some clever algebra.

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1 Step 2 Step

Stage: 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Liam's house has a staircase with 12 steps. He can go down the steps one at a time or two at time. In how many different ways can Liam go down the 12 steps?

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Number Rules - OK

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

Can you convince me of each of the following: If a square number is multiplied by a square number the product is ALWAYS a square number...

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Lens Angle

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

Find the missing angle between the two secants to the circle when the two angles at the centre subtended by the arcs created by the intersections of the secants and the circle are 50 and 120 degrees.

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Why 24?

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

Take any prime number greater than 3 , square it and subtract one. Working on the building blocks will help you to explain what is special about your results.

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Angle Trisection

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

It is impossible to trisect an angle using only ruler and compasses but it can be done using a carpenter's square.

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Zig Zag

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

Four identical right angled triangles are drawn on the sides of a square. Two face out, two face in. Why do the four vertices marked with dots lie on one line?

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Unit Interval

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the numbers is always less than one plus their product?

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Quadratic Harmony

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Find all positive integers a and b for which the two equations: x^2-ax+b = 0 and x^2-bx+a = 0 both have positive integer solutions.

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Mechanical Integration

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

To find the integral of a polynomial, evaluate it at some special points and add multiples of these values.

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Prime AP

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Show that if three prime numbers, all greater than 3, form an arithmetic progression then the common difference is divisible by 6. What if one of the terms is 3?

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Common Divisor

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Find the largest integer which divides every member of the following sequence: 1^5-1, 2^5-2, 3^5-3, ... n^5-n.

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There's a Limit

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Explore the continued fraction: 2+3/(2+3/(2+3/2+...)) What do you notice when successive terms are taken? What happens to the terms if the fraction goes on indefinitely?

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Square Mean

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less than, the square of their means?

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Cosines Rule

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

Three points A, B and C lie in this order on a line, and P is any point in the plane. Use the Cosine Rule to prove the following statement.

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Binomial

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

By considering powers of (1+x), show that the sum of the squares of the binomial coefficients from 0 to n is 2nCn

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How Many Solutions?

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Find all the solutions to the this equation.

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Polynomial Relations

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Given any two polynomials in a single variable it is always possible to eliminate the variable and obtain a formula showing the relationship between the two polynomials. Try this one.

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Picture Story

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

Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?

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Shape and Territory

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

If for any triangle ABC tan(A - B) + tan(B - C) + tan(C - A) = 0 what can you say about the triangle?

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Areas and Ratios

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

What is the area of the quadrilateral APOQ? Working on the building blocks will give you some insights that may help you to work it out.

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Growing Ls

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

Can you fit Ls together to make larger versions of themselves?

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Kite in a Square

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you make sense of the three methods to work out the area of the kite in the square?

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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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Three Neighbours

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

Look at three 'next door neighbours' amongst the counting numbers. Add them together. What do you notice?