A cheap and simple toy with lots of mathematics. Can you interpret the images that are produced? Can you predict the pattern that will be produced using different wheels?
Can you find the link between these beautiful circle patterns and Farey Sequences?
For any right-angled triangle find the radii of the three escribed circles touching the sides of the triangle externally.
Find the ratio of the outer shaded area to the inner area for a six pointed star and an eight pointed star.
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
If a is the radius of the axle, b the radius of each ball-bearing, and c the radius of the hub, why does the number of ball bearings n determine the ratio c/a? Find a formula for c/a in terms of n.
A circle is inscribed in an equilateral triangle. Smaller circles touch it and the sides of the triangle, the process continuing indefinitely. What is the sum of the areas of all the circles?
Two circles of equal size intersect and the centre of each circle is on the circumference of the other. What is the area of the intersection? Now imagine that the diagram represents two spheres of. . . .
See if you can anticipate successive 'generations' of the two animals shown here.
An environment that enables you to investigate tessellations of regular polygons
This pattern of six circles contains three unit circles. Work out the radii of the other three circles and the relationship between them.
Given a square ABCD of sides 10 cm, and using the corners as centres, construct four quadrants with radius 10 cm each inside the square. The four arcs intersect at P, Q, R and S. Find the. . . .
What is the ratio of the area of a square inscribed in a semicircle to the area of the square inscribed in the entire circle?
Medieval stonemasons used a method to construct octagons using ruler and compasses... Is the octagon regular? Proof please.
What is the same and what is different about these circle questions? What connections can you make?
Investigate the properties of quadrilaterals which can be drawn with a circle just touching each side and another circle just touching each vertex.
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
The largest square which fits into a circle is ABCD and EFGH is a square with G and H on the line CD and E and F on the circumference of the circle. Show that AB = 5EF. Similarly the largest. . . .
Make five different quadrilaterals on a nine-point pegboard, without using the centre peg. Work out the angles in each quadrilateral you make. Now, what other relationships you can see?
A circle touches the lines OA, OB and AB where OA and OB are perpendicular. Show that the diameter of the circle is equal to the perimeter of the triangle
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?
A white cross is placed symmetrically in a red disc with the central square of side length sqrt 2 and the arms of the cross of length 1 unit. What is the area of the disc still showing?
What is the sum of the angles of a triangle whose sides are circular arcs on a flat surface? What if the triangle is on the surface of a sphere?
Two perpendicular lines are tangential to two identical circles that touch. What is the largest circle that can be placed in between the two lines and the two circles and how would you construct it?
Three semi-circles have a common diameter, each touches the other two and two lie inside the biggest one. What is the radius of the circle that touches all three semi-circles?
Triangle ABC has altitudes h1, h2 and h3. The radius of the inscribed circle is r, while the radii of the escribed circles are r1, r2 and r3 respectively. Prove: 1/r = 1/h1 + 1/h2 + 1/h3 = 1/r1 +. . . .
Four circles all touch each other and a circumscribing circle. Find the ratios of the radii and prove that joining 3 centres gives a 3-4-5 triangle.
Remember that you want someone following behind you to see where you went. Can yo work out how these patterns were created and recreate them?
Can you find a relationship between the area of the crescents and the area of the triangle?
Have a go at creating these images based on circles. What do you notice about the areas of the different sections?
This article gives an wonderful insight into students working on the Arclets problem that first appeared in the Sept 2002 edition of the NRICH website.
M is any point on the line AB. Squares of side length AM and MB are constructed and their circumcircles intersect at P (and M). Prove that the lines AD and BE produced pass through P.
This article is about triangles in which the lengths of the sides and the radii of the inscribed circles are all whole numbers.
One side of a triangle is divided into segments of length a and b by the inscribed circle, with radius r. Prove that the area is: abr(a+b)/ab-r^2
Two semi-circles (each of radius 1/2) touch each other, and a semi-circle of radius 1 touches both of them. Find the radius of the circle which touches all three semi-circles.
The centre of the larger circle is at the midpoint of one side of an equilateral triangle and the circle touches the other two sides of the triangle. A smaller circle touches the larger circle and. . . .
The square ABCD is split into three triangles by the lines BP and CP. Find the radii of the three inscribed circles to these triangles as P moves on AD.
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. . . .
Semicircles are drawn on the sides of a rectangle. Prove that the sum of the areas of the four crescents is equal to the area of the rectangle.
At the corner of the cube circular arcs are drawn and the area enclosed shaded. What fraction of the surface area of the cube is shaded? Try working out the answer without recourse to pencil and. . . .
Investigate constructible images which contain rational areas.
Two polygons fit together so that the exterior angle at each end of their shared side is 81 degrees. If both shapes now have to be regular could the angle still be 81 degrees?
By inscribing a circle in a square and then a square in a circle find an approximation to pi. By using a hexagon, can you improve on the approximation?
In LOGO circles can be described in terms of polygons with an infinite (in this case large number) of sides - investigate this definition further.
An equilateral triangle is sitting on top of a square. What is the radius of the circle that circumscribes this shape?
Given any three non intersecting circles in the plane find another circle or straight line which cuts all three circles orthogonally.
Ten squares form regular rings either with adjacent or opposite vertices touching. Calculate the inner and outer radii of the rings that surround the squares.
The diagram shows a regular pentagon with sides of unit length. Find all the angles in the diagram. Prove that the quadrilateral shown in red is a rhombus.
Straight lines are drawn from each corner of a square to the mid points of the opposite sides. Express the area of the octagon that is formed at the centre as a fraction of the area of the square.
A square of area 40 square cms is inscribed in a semicircle. Find the area of the square that could be inscribed in a circle of the same radius.