A paradox is a statement that seems to be both untrue and true at the same time. This article looks at a few examples and challenges you to investigate them for yourself.
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.
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.
Which set of numbers that add to 10 have the largest product?
Make a set of numbers that use all the digits from 1 to 9, once and once only. Add them up. The result is divisible by 9. Add each of the digits in the new number. What is their sum? Now try some. . . .
Blue Flibbins are so jealous of their red partners that they will not leave them on their own with any other bue Flibbin. What is the quickest way of getting the five pairs of Flibbins safely to. . . .
Your partner chooses two beads and places them side by side behind a screen. What is the minimum number of guesses you would need to be sure of guessing the two beads and their positions?
Which hexagons tessellate?
Can you cross each of the seven bridges that join the north and south of the river to the two islands, once and once only, without retracing your steps?
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
You have twelve weights, one of which is different from the rest. Using just 3 weighings, can you identify which weight is the odd one out, and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest?
Construct two equilateral triangles on a straight line. There are two lengths that look the same - can you prove it?
Keep constructing triangles in the incircle of the previous triangle. What happens?
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. . . .
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
Carry out cyclic permutations of nine digit numbers containing the digits from 1 to 9 (until you get back to the first number). Prove that whatever number you choose, they will add to the same total.
Do you know how to find the area of a triangle? You can count the squares. What happens if we turn the triangle on end? Press the button and see. Try counting the number of units in the triangle now. . . .
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. . . .
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third places?
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
ABC is an equilateral triangle and P is a point in the interior of the triangle. We know that AP = 3cm and BP = 4cm. Prove that CP must be less than 10 cm.
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
A blue coin rolls round two yellow coins which touch. The coins are the same size. How many revolutions does the blue coin make when it rolls all the way round the yellow coins? Investigate for a. . . .
It is impossible to trisect an angle using only ruler and compasses but it can be done using a carpenter's square.
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord which is tangent to the inner circle.
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
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.
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.
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Points A, B and C are the centres of three circles, each one of which touches the other two. Prove that the perimeter of the triangle ABC is equal to the diameter of the largest circle.
Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of knots and a little about prime knots, crossing numbers and. . . .
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.
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.
ABCD is a square. P is the midpoint of AB and is joined to C. A line from D perpendicular to PC meets the line at the point Q. Prove AQ = AD.
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.