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

Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?

Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?

How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?

The number 2.525252525252.... can be written as a fraction. What is the sum of the denominator and numerator?

Helen made the conjecture that "every multiple of six has more factors than the two numbers either side of it". Is this conjecture true?

My two digit number is special because adding the sum of its digits to the product of its digits gives me my original number. What could my number be?

Consider the equation 1/a + 1/b + 1/c = 1 where a, b and c are natural numbers and 0 < a < b < c. Prove that there is only one set of values which satisfy this equation.

Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?

Sets of integers like 3, 4, 5 are called Pythagorean Triples, because they could be the lengths of the sides of a right-angled triangle. Can you find any more?

Can you find any two-digit numbers that satisfy all of these statements?

The diagram illustrates the formula: 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n - 1) = nÂ² Use the diagram to show that any odd number is the difference of two squares.

Many numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers. For example, 15=7+8 and 10=1+2+3+4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed in this way?

Is there an efficient way to work out how many factors a large number has?

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

Explain why the arithmetic sequence 1, 14, 27, 40, ... contains many terms of the form 222...2 where only the digit 2 appears.

Find some triples of whole numbers a, b and c such that a^2 + b^2 + c^2 is a multiple of 4. Is it necessarily the case that a, b and c must all be even? If so, can you explain why?

A and B are two interlocking cogwheels having p teeth and q teeth respectively. One tooth on B is painted red. Find the values of p and q for which the red tooth on B contacts every gap on the. . . .

Whenever two chameleons of different colours meet they change colour to the third colour. Describe the shortest sequence of meetings in which all the chameleons change to green if you start with 12. . . .

Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .

The number 12 = 2^2 × 3 has 6 factors. What is the smallest natural number with exactly 36 factors?

Imagine a machine with four coloured lights which respond to different rules. Can you find the smallest possible number which will make all four colours light up?

Is it true that $99^n$ has 2n digits and $999^n$ has 3n digits? Investigate!

Complete the following expressions so that each one gives a four digit number as the product of two two digit numbers and uses the digits 1 to 8 once and only once.

115^2 = (110 x 120) + 25, that is 13225 895^2 = (890 x 900) + 25, that is 801025 Can you explain what is happening and generalise?

Which numbers can we write as a sum of square numbers?

Robert noticed some interesting patterns when he highlighted square numbers in a spreadsheet. Can you prove that the patterns will continue?

Take three whole numbers. The differences between them give you three new numbers. Find the differences between the new numbers and keep repeating this. What happens?

Investigate $1^n + 19^n + 20^n + 51^n + 57^n + 80^n + 82^n $ and $2^n + 12^n + 31^n + 40^n + 69^n + 71^n + 85^n$ for different values of n.

Can you find any perfect numbers? Read this article to find out more...

How many positive integers less than or equal to 4000 can be written down without using the digits 7, 8 or 9?

This article gives you a few ideas for understanding the Got It! game and how you might find a winning strategy.

There are some water lilies in a lake. The area that they cover doubles in size every day. After 17 days the whole lake is covered. How long did it take them to cover half the lake?

A combination mechanism for a safe comprises thirty-two tumblers numbered from one to thirty-two in such a way that the numbers in each wheel total 132... Could you open the safe?

Find the maximum value of 1/p + 1/q + 1/r where this sum is less than 1 and p, q, and r are positive integers.

Can you work out how many of each kind of pencil this student bought?

Can you make a hypothesis to explain these ancient numbers?

The number 10112359550561797752808988764044943820224719 is called a 'slippy number' because, when the last digit 9 is moved to the front, the new number produced is the slippy number multiplied by 9.

When asked how old she was, the teacher replied: My age in years is not prime but odd and when reversed and added to my age you have a perfect square...

How many zeros are there at the end of the number which is the product of first hundred positive integers?

Suppose you had to begin the never ending task of writing out the natural numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.... and so on. What would be the 1000th digit you would write down.

When the number x 1 x x x is multiplied by 417 this gives the answer 9 x x x 0 5 7. Find the missing digits, each of which is represented by an "x" .

Find the five distinct digits N, R, I, C and H in the following nomogram

Show that 8778, 10296 and 13530 are three triangular numbers and that they form a Pythagorean triple.

Place the numbers 1, 2, 3,..., 9 one on each square of a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows and columns add up to a prime number. How many different solutions can you find?

Ranging from kindergarten mathematics to the fringe of research this informal article paints the big picture of number in a non technical way suitable for primary teachers and older students.