Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?
How many winning lines can you make in a three-dimensional version of noughts and crosses?
Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?
A cyclist and a runner start off simultaneously around a race track each going at a constant speed. The cyclist goes all the way around and then catches up with the runner. He then instantly turns. . . .
Show that all pentagonal numbers are one third of a triangular number.
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
A rectangular field has two posts with a ring on top of each post. There are two quarrelsome goats and plenty of ropes which you can tie to their collars. How can you secure them so they can't. . . .
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
A blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .
The picture illustrates the sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (4 x 5)/2. Prove the general formula for the sum of the first n natural numbers and the formula for the sum of the cubes of the first n natural. . . .
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.
Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of knots and a little about prime knots, crossing numbers and. . . .
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?
ABCDEFGH is a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. Point P is 1/3 along AB (that is AP : PB = 1 : 2), point Q is 1/3 along GH and point R is 1/3 along ED. What is the area of the triangle PQR?
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
Two motorboats travelling up and down a lake at constant speeds leave opposite ends A and B at the same instant, passing each other, for the first time 600 metres from A, and on their return, 400. . . .
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
A right-angled isosceles triangle is rotated about the centre point of a square. What can you say about the area of the part of the square covered by the triangle as it rotates?
Four rods, two of length a and two of length b, are linked to form a kite. The linkage is moveable so that the angles change. What is the maximum area of the kite?
A game for 2 players
A ribbon runs around a box so that it makes a complete loop with two parallel pieces of ribbon on the top. How long will the ribbon be?
Can you work out the dimensions of the three cubes?
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
ABCD is a regular tetrahedron and the points P, Q, R and S are the midpoints of the edges AB, BD, CD and CA. Prove that PQRS is a square.
A half-cube is cut into two pieces by a plane through the long diagonal and at right angles to it. Can you draw a net of these pieces? Are they identical?
Seven small rectangular pictures have one inch wide frames. The frames are removed and the pictures are fitted together like a jigsaw to make a rectangle of length 12 inches. Find the dimensions of. . . .
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of moves.
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
A spider is sitting in the middle of one of the smallest walls in a room and a fly is resting beside the window. What is the shortest distance the spider would have to crawl to catch the fly?
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.
Start with a large square, join the midpoints of its sides, you'll see four right angled triangles. Remove these triangles, a second square is left. Repeat the operation. What happens?
These are pictures of the sea defences at New Brighton. Can you work out what a basic shape might be in both images of the sea wall and work out a way they might fit together?
The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .
The whole set of tiles is used to make a square. This has a green and blue border. There are no green or blue tiles anywhere in the square except on this border. How many tiles are there in the set?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
Imagine you are suspending a cube from one vertex and allowing it to hang freely. What shape does the surface of the water make around the cube?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
How much of the field can the animals graze?
The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?
Can you maximise the area available to a grazing goat?
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
Can you make a tetrahedron whose faces all have the same perimeter?
Can you mark 4 points on a flat surface so that there are only two different distances between them?
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six pointed star and an eight pointed star.
A useful visualising exercise which offers opportunities for discussion and generalising, and which could be used for thinking about the formulae needed for generating the results on a spreadsheet.