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.
Which hexagons tessellate?
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. . . .
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Patterns that repeat in a line are strangely interesting. How many types are there and how do you tell one type from another?
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.
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. . . .
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. . . .
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?
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. . . .
You have been given nine weights, one of which is slightly heavier than the rest. Can you work out which weight is heavier in just two weighings of the balance?
What are the missing numbers in the pyramids?
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.
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
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. . . .
Investigate the sequences obtained by starting with any positive 2 digit number (10a+b) and repeatedly using the rule 10a+b maps to 10b-a to get the next number in the sequence.
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.
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. . . .
Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry
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.
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?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
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?
It is impossible to trisect an angle using only ruler and compasses but it can be done using a carpenter's square.
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
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. . . .
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
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. . . .
Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less than, the square of their means?
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
What is the largest number of intersection points that a triangle and a quadrilateral can have?
When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Construct two equilateral triangles on a straight line. There are two lengths that look the same - can you prove it?
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?
Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.
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?
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?
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?
This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .
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.
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.