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Broad Topics > Numbers and the Number System > Properties of numbers

Magic Letters

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Mini-max

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Even So

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Unit Fractions

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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.

Special Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Cogs

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Pair Products

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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

Odd Differences

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

The diagram illustrates the formula: 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n - 1) = n² Use the diagram to show that any odd number is the difference of two squares.

Summing Consecutive Numbers

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Got it Article

Stage: 2 and 3

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

Counting Factors

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Palindromes

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

If you take a three by three square on a 1-10 addition square and multiply the diagonally opposite numbers together, what is the difference between these products. Why?

Generating Triples

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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

Elevenses

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Repetitiously

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Cinema Problem

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

A cinema has 100 seats. Show how it is possible to sell exactly 100 tickets and take exactly £100 if the prices are £10 for adults, 50p for pensioners and 10p for children.

Prime Magic

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Chameleons

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Six Times Five

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

How many six digit numbers are there which DO NOT contain a 5?

Lastly - Well

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

What are the last two digits of 2^(2^2003)?

Oh! Hidden Inside?

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Find the number which has 8 divisors, such that the product of the divisors is 331776.

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?

Triangular Triples

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Clever Carl

Stage: 2 and 3

What would you do if your teacher asked you add all the numbers from 1 to 100? Find out how Carl Gauss responded when he was asked to do just that.

Power Crazy

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

What can you say about the values of n that make $7^n + 3^n$ a multiple of 10? Are there other pairs of integers between 1 and 10 which have similar properties?

Four Coloured Lights

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Difference Dynamics

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

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?

Sept 03

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

What is the last digit of the number 1 / 5^903 ?

Really Mr. Bond

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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?

Enriching Experience

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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

Satisfying Statements

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Not a Polite Question

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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...

A Long Time at the Till

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

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?

What Are Numbers?

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5

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.

Fracmax

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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.

Babylon Numbers

Stage: 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level:

Can you make a hypothesis to explain these ancient numbers?

Happy Octopus

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

This investigation is about happy numbers in the World of the Octopus where all numbers are written in base 8 ... Find all the fixed points and cycles for the happy number sequences in base 8.

Water Lilies

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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?

Times Right

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Using the digits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, mulitply a two two digit numbers are multiplied to give a four digit number, so that the expression is correct. How many different solutions can you find?

Rachel's Problem

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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

Filling the Gaps

Stage: 4 Challenge Level:

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

An Introduction to Irrational Numbers

Stage: 4 and 5

Tim Rowland introduces irrational numbers

Lesser Digits

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Guess the Dominoes

Stage: 1, 2 and 3 Challenge Level:

This task depends on learners sharing reasoning, listening to opinions, reflecting and pulling ideas together.

Alphabet Soup

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

This challenge is to make up YOUR OWN alphanumeric. Each letter represents a digit and where the same letter appears more than once it must represent the same digit each time.

Whole Numbers Only

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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

Two Much

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

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