There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten. Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
Caroline and James pick sets of five numbers. Charlie chooses three of them that add together to make a multiple of three. Can they stop him?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the numbers is always less than one plus their product?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces (top, bottom, front and back) is equal?
You can work out the number someone else is thinking of as follows. Ask a friend to think of any natural number less than 100. Then ask them to tell you the remainders when this number is divided by. . . .
Liam's house has a staircase with 12 steps. He can go down the steps one at a time or two at time. In how many different ways can Liam go down the 12 steps?
Arrange the numbers 1 to 16 into a 4 by 4 array. Choose a number. Cross out the numbers on the same row and column. Repeat this process. Add up you four numbers. Why do they always add up to 34?
Spotting patterns can be an important first step - explaining why it is appropriate to generalise is the next step, and often the most interesting and important.
The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect square - can you explain why?
Janine noticed, while studying some cube numbers, that if you take three consecutive whole numbers and multiply them together and then add the middle number of the three, you get the middle number. . . .
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
A, B & C own a half, a third and a sixth of a coin collection. Each grab some coins, return some, then share equally what they had put back, finishing with their own share. How rich are they?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
The diagram shows a regular pentagon with sides of unit length. Find all the angles in the diagram. Prove that the quadrilateral shown in red is a rhombus.
Which set of numbers that add to 10 have the largest product?
If you think that mathematical proof is really clearcut and universal then you should read this article.
Here are three 'tricks' to amaze your friends. But the really clever trick is explaining to them why these 'tricks' are maths not magic. Like all good magicians, you should practice by trying. . . .
Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.
Semicircles are drawn on the sides of a rectangle. Prove that the sum of the areas of the four crescents is equal to the area of the rectangle.
Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less than, the square of their means?
Four jewellers share their stock. Can you work out the relative values of their gems?
If you can copy a network without lifting your pen off the paper and without drawing any line twice, then it is traversable. Decide which of these diagrams are traversable.
The picture illustrates the sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (4 x 5)/2. Prove the general formula for the sum of the first n natural numbers and the formula for the sum of the cubes of the first n natural. . . .
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Write down a three-digit number Change the order of the digits to get a different number Find the difference between the two three digit numbers Follow the rest of the instructions then try. . . .
Imagine two identical cylindrical pipes meeting at right angles and think about the shape of the space which belongs to both pipes. Early Chinese mathematicians call this shape the mouhefanggai.
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
Can you convince me of each of the following: If a square number is multiplied by a square number the product is ALWAYS a square number...
Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.
This is an interactivity in which you have to sort the steps in the completion of the square into the correct order to prove the formula for the solutions of quadratic equations.
A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.
Kyle and his teacher disagree about his test score - who is right?
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.
Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
Find the missing angle between the two secants to the circle when the two angles at the centre subtended by the arcs created by the intersections of the secants and the circle are 50 and 120 degrees.
Draw some quadrilaterals on a 9-point circle and work out the angles. Is there a theorem?
L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
There are 12 identical looking coins, one of which is a fake. The counterfeit coin is of a different weight to the rest. What is the minimum number of weighings needed to locate the fake coin?
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
This article extends the discussions in "Whole number dynamics I". Continuing the proof that, for all starting points, the Happy Number sequence goes into a loop or homes in on a fixed point.
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?