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.

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?

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. . . .

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

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

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?

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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?

Can you make a hypothesis to explain these ancient numbers?

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.

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

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.

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. . . .

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?

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?

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.

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?

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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?

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?

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

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?

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

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?

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...

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

Can you arrange the digits 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 into three 3-digit numbers such that their total is close to 1500?

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

Visitors to Earth from the distant planet of Zub-Zorna were amazed when they found out that when the digits in this multiplication were reversed, the answer was the same! Find a way to explain. . . .

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

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.

In how many ways can a pound (value 100 pence) be changed into some combination of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pence coins?