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

Mini-max

Age 11 to 14 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. . . .

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Unit Fractions

Age 11 to 14 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.

Even So

Age 11 to 14 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?

Summing Consecutive Numbers

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Magic Letters

Age 11 to 14 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?

Elevenses

Age 11 to 14 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?

Writ Large

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

Pair Products

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Special Numbers

Age 11 to 14 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?

The Codabar Check

Age 11 to 14

This article explains how credit card numbers are defined and the check digit serves to verify their accuracy.

Really Mr. Bond

Age 14 to 16 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?

Age 11 to 14 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?

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

I added together some of my neighbours house numbers. Can you explain the patterns I noticed?

Odd Differences

Age 14 to 16 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.

Chameleons

Age 11 to 14 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. . . .

Guess the Dominoes for Two

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

Guess the Dominoes for child and adult. Work out which domino your partner has chosen by asking good questions.

Clever Carl

Age 7 to 14

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.

Magic Crosses

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you find examples of magic crosses? Can you find all the possibilities?

Generating Triples

Age 14 to 16 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?

Slippy Numbers

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

Satisfying Statements

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Cogs

Age 11 to 14 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. . . .

Four Coloured Lights

Age 11 to 14 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?

Lastly - Well

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Water Lilies

Age 11 to 14 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?

A Long Time at the Till

Age 14 to 18 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?

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Difference Dynamics

Age 14 to 18 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?

A Little Light Thinking

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Got it Article

Age 7 to 14

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

Sept 03

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

X Marks the Spot

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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" .

Counting Factors

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Lesser Digits

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Happy Octopus

Age 11 to 14 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.

Enriching Experience

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Repetitiously

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Arrange the Digits

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

Power Crazy

Age 11 to 14 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?

Six Times Five

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Times Right

Age 11 to 16 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?

Helen's Conjecture

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

One to Eight

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

Like Powers

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

Prime Magic

Age 7 to 16 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?

An Introduction to Irrational Numbers

Age 14 to 18

Tim Rowland introduces irrational numbers

Guess the Dominoes

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

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