In a snooker game the brown ball was on the lip of the pocket but it could not be hit directly as the black ball was in the way. How could it be potted by playing the white ball off a cushion?
See how 4 dimensional quaternions involve vectors in 3-space and how the quaternion function F(v) = nvn gives a simple algebraic method of working with reflections in planes in 3-space.
What angle is needed for a ball to do a circuit of the billiard table and then pass through its original position?
A fire-fighter needs to fill a bucket of water from the river and take it to a fire. What is the best point on the river bank for the fire-fighter to fill the bucket ?.
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. . . .
Charlie likes tablecloths that use as many colours as possible, but insists that his tablecloths have some symmetry. Can you work out how many colours he needs for different tablecloth designs?
A design is repeated endlessly along a line - rather like a stream of paper coming off a roll. Make a strip that matches itself after rotation, or after reflection
Make a footprint pattern using only reflections.
What groups of transformations map a regular pentagon to itself?
I took the graph y=4x+7 and performed four transformations. Can you find the order in which I could have carried out the transformations?
A moveable screen slides along a mirrored corridor towards a centrally placed light source. A ray of light from that source is directed towards a wall of the corridor, which it strikes at 45 degrees. . . .
Proofs that there are only seven frieze patterns involve complicated group theory. The symmetries of a cylinder provide an easier approach.
An environment for exploring the properties of small groups.
A gallery of beautiful photos of cast ironwork friezes in Australia with a mathematical discussion of the classification of frieze patterns.
Follow hints using a little coordinate geometry, plane geometry and trig to see how matrices are used to work on transformations of the plane.
Choose some complex numbers and mark them by points on a graph. Multiply your numbers by i once, twice, three times, four times, ..., n times? What happens?
Follow hints to investigate the matrix which gives a reflection of the plane in the line y=tanx. Show that the combination of two reflections in intersecting lines is a rotation.
Consider a watch face which has identical hands and identical marks for the hours. It is opposite to a mirror. When is the time as read direct and in the mirror exactly the same between 6 and 7?
Given that ABCD is a square, M is the mid point of AD and CP is perpendicular to MB with P on MB, prove DP = DC.
The shortest path between any two points on a snooker table is the straight line between them but what if the ball must bounce off one wall, or 2 walls, or 3 walls?
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.
When a strip has vertical symmetry there always seems to be a second place where a mirror line could go. Perhaps you can find a design that has only one mirror line across it. Or, if you thought that. . . .
I noticed this about streamers that have rotation symmetry : if there was one centre of rotation there always seems to be a second centre that also worked. Can you find a design that has only. . . .
Investigate the transfomations of the plane given by the 2 by 2 matrices with entries taking all combinations of values 0. -1 and +1.
Patterns that repeat in a line are strangely interesting. How many types are there and how do you tell one type from another?