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A 'doodle' is a closed intersecting curve drawn without taking pencil from paper. Only two lines cross at each intersection or vertex (never 3), that is the vertex points must be 'double points' not 'triple points'. Number the vertex points in any order. Starting at any point on the doodle, trace it until you get back to where you started. Write down the numbers of the vertices as you pass through them. So you have a [not necessarily unique] list of numbers for each doodle. Prove that 1)each vertex number in a list occurs twice. [easy!] 2)between each pair of vertex numbers in a list there are an even number of other numbers [hard!]

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Russian Cubes

How many different cubes can be painted with three blue faces and three red faces? A boy (using blue) and a girl (using red) paint the faces of a cube in turn so that the six faces are painted in order 'blue then red then blue then red then blue then red'. Having finished one cube, they begin to paint the next one. Prove that the girl can choose the faces she paints so as to make the second cube the same as the first.

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N000ughty Thoughts

Factorial one hundred (written 100!) has 24 noughts when written in full and that 1000! has 249 noughts? Convince yourself that the above is true. Perhaps your methodology will help you find the number of noughts in 10 000! and 100 000! or even 1 000 000!


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

example 1Exsample 2

A walk is made up of diagonal steps, starting at the bottom left and ending up back on the bottom line (x-axis). You can move diagonally up and down towards the right but you cannot move towards the left.

A diagonal must go from a left-hand corner of a square to the opposite right-hand corner of the same square.

The examples above all show 10-step walks. So let's look at a 2-step walk in more detail:

2-step walk

There is only one way to make a 2-step walk - from A up to x and down to B:

2-step walk with labels

Here are two 4-step walks:

4-step example 24-step example

Are there any more 4-step walks?

How do you know you have them all?

How many 6-step, 8-step walks are there?

Can you find a general rule?

See also the problems One Basket and Counting Binary Ops