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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Making and proving conjectures

Discrete Trends

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Find the maximum value of n to the power 1/n and prove that it is a maximum.

OK! Now Prove It

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Make a conjecture about the sum of the squares of the odd positive integers. Can you prove it?

2^n -n Numbers

Stage: 5

Yatir from Israel wrote this article on numbers that can be written as $2^n-n$ where n is a positive integer.

The Kth Sum of N Numbers

Stage: 5

Yatir from Israel describes his method for summing a series of triangle numbers.

Fibonacci Fashion

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

What have Fibonacci numbers to do with solutions of the quadratic equation x^2 - x - 1 = 0 ?

Fixing It

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

A and B are two fixed points on a circle and RS is a variable diamater. What is the locus of the intersection P of AR and BS?

Prime Sequences

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

This group tasks allows you to search for arithmetic progressions in the prime numbers. How many of the challenges will you discover for yourself?

Poly Fibs

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

A sequence of polynomials starts 0, 1 and each poly is given by combining the two polys in the sequence just before it. Investigate and prove results about the roots of the polys.

Center Path

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Four rods of equal length are hinged at their endpoints to form a rhombus. The diagonals meet at X. One edge is fixed, the opposite edge is allowed to move in the plane. Describe the locus of. . . .

Binary Squares

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

If a number N is expressed in binary by using only 'ones,' what can you say about its square (in binary)?

Trig Rules OK

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Change the squares in this diagram and spot the property that stays the same for the triangles. Explain...

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Explore the relationship between quadratic functions and their graphs.

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

With red and blue beads on a circular wire; 'put a red bead between any two of the same colour and a blue between different colours then remove the original beads'. Keep repeating this. What happens?

An Introduction to Magic Squares

Stage: 2, 3 and 4

Find out about Magic Squares in this article written for students. Why are they magic?!

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Points D, E and F are on the the sides of triangle ABC. Circumcircles are drawn to the triangles ADE, BEF and CFD respectively. What do you notice about these three circumcircles?

Pericut

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Two semicircle sit on the diameter of a semicircle centre O of twice their radius. Lines through O divide the perimeter into two parts. What can you say about the lengths of these two parts?

Summats Clear

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Find the sum, f(n), of the first n terms of the sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3........p, p, p +1, p + 1,..... Prove that f(a + b) - f(a - b) = ab.

Vecten

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Join in this ongoing research. Build squares on the sides of a triangle, join the outer vertices forming hexagons, build further rings of squares and quadrilaterals, investigate.

Multiplication Arithmagons

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?

Painting by Numbers

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

How many different colours of paint would be needed to paint these pictures by numbers?

Integral Sandwich

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Generalise this inequality involving integrals.

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

The points P, Q, R and S are the midpoints of the edges of a non-convex quadrilateral.What do you notice about the quadrilateral PQRS and its area?

Pythagorean Fibs

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

What have Fibonacci numbers got to do with Pythagorean triples?

Multiplication Square

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?

Plus or Minus

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Make and prove a conjecture about the value of the product of the Fibonacci numbers $F_{n+1}F_{n-1}$.

Alison's Mapping

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Alison has created two mappings. Can you figure out what they do? What questions do they prompt you to ask?

Curvy Areas

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?

Few and Far Between?

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Can you find some Pythagorean Triples where the two smaller numbers differ by 1?

On the Importance of Pedantry

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

A introduction to how patterns can be deceiving, and what is and is not a proof.

A Little Light Thinking

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Here is a machine with four coloured lights. Can you make two lights switch on at once? Three lights? All four lights?

Close to Triangular

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Drawing a triangle is not always as easy as you might think!

The Clue Is in the Question

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

This problem is a sequence of linked mini-challenges leading up to the proof of a difficult final challenge, encouraging you to think mathematically. Starting with one of the mini-challenges, how. . . .

Steve's Mapping

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Steve has created two mappings. Can you figure out what they do? What questions do they prompt you to ask?

What's Possible?

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?

Conjugate Tracker

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Make a conjecture about the curved track taken by the complex roots of a quadratic equation and use complex conjugates to prove your conjecture.

Sixty-seven Squared

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Evaluate these powers of 67. What do you notice? Can you convince someone what the answer would be to (a million sixes followed by a 7) squared?

Rotating Triangle

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

What happens to the perimeter of triangle ABC as the two smaller circles change size and roll around inside the bigger circle?

Polycircles

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

DOTS Division

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Take any pair of two digit numbers x=ab and y=cd where, without loss of generality, ab > cd . Form two 4 digit numbers r=abcd and s=cdab and calculate: {r^2 - s^2} /{x^2 - y^2}.

Janine's Conjecture

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

The points P, Q, R and S are the midpoints of the edges of a convex quadrilateral. What do you notice about the quadrilateral PQRS as the convex quadrilateral changes?

Thebault's Theorem

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Take any parallelogram and draw squares on the sides of the parallelogram. What can you prove about the quadrilateral formed by joining the centres of these squares?

Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Stage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.

How Old Am I?

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

In 15 years' time my age will be the square of my age 15 years ago. Can you work out my age, and when I had other special birthdays?

To Prove or Not to Prove

Stage: 4 and 5

A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.

Polite Numbers

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

A polite number can be written as the sum of two or more consecutive positive integers. Find the consecutive sums giving the polite numbers 544 and 424. What characterizes impolite numbers?

Fibonacci Factors

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

For which values of n is the Fibonacci number fn even? Which Fibonnaci numbers are divisible by 3?

Cyclic Triangles

Stage: 5 Challenge Level:

Make and prove a conjecture about the cyclic quadrilateral inscribed in a circle of radius r that has the maximum perimeter and the maximum area.

Triangles Within Triangles

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you find a rule which connects consecutive triangular numbers?

Triangles Within Squares

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

Can you find a rule which relates triangular numbers to square numbers?