Proof for All (st)ages

Creating convincing arguments or "proofs" to show that statements are always true is a key mathematical skill.

The problems in this feature offer students the chance to identify number patterns, make conjectures and create convincing mathematical proofs.

Many of the problems in this feature include proof sorting activities which challenge students to rearrange statements in order to recreate clear, rigorous proofs.  These tasks aim to introduce students to the formality and logic of mathematical proof.

The last day for students to send in their solutions to the live problems is Monday 31 January.

Plus magazine has a selection of interesting articles about proofs here.
 

Three Neighbours live

Age 7 to 14
Challenge Level
Take three consecutive numbers and add them together. What do you notice?

Three Consecutive Odd Numbers live

Age 11 to 16
Challenge Level
How many sets of three consecutive odd numbers can you find, in which all three numbers are prime?

Adding Odd Numbers live

Age 11 to 16
Challenge Level
Is there a quick and easy way to calculate the sum of the first 100 odd numbers?

Where Are the Primes? live

Age 11 to 16
Challenge Level
What can we say about all the primes which are greater than 3?

What Does it All Add up To? live

Age 11 to 18
Challenge Level
If you take four consecutive numbers and add them together, the answer will always be even. What else do you notice?

Different Products live

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level
Take four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?

Difference of Odd Squares live

Age 14 to 18
Challenge Level
$40$ can be written as $7^2 - 3^2.$ Which other numbers can be written as the difference of squares of odd numbers?

Impossible Sums live

Age 14 to 18
Challenge Level
Which numbers cannot be written as the sum of two or more consecutive numbers?

Adding Odd Numbers (part 2) 

Age 16 to 18
Challenge Level
Can you use Proof by Induction to establish what will happen when you add more and more odd numbers?

KS5 Proof Shorts live

Age 16 to 18
Challenge Level
Here are a few questions taken from the Test of Mathematics for University Admission (or TMUA).

Direct Logic live

Age 16 to 18
Challenge Level
Can you work through these direct proofs, using our interactive proof sorters?

Dodgy Proofs live

Age 16 to 18
Challenge Level
These proofs are wrong. Can you see why?


We are very grateful to the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research for their generous support for the development of these resources.