Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Which set of numbers that add to 10 have the largest product?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.
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. . . .
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. . . .
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
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?
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?
Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.
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. . . .
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?
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.
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. . . .
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.
Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.
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. . . .
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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?
When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
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. . . .
Clearly if a, b and c are the lengths of the sides of an equilateral triangle then a^2 + b^2 + c^2 = ab + bc + ca. Is the converse true?
Construct two equilateral triangles on a straight line. There are two lengths that look the same - can you prove it?
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. . . .
I start with a red, a blue, a green and a yellow marble. I can trade any of my marbles for three others, one of each colour. Can I end up with exactly two marbles of each colour?
I start with a red, a green and a blue marble. I can trade any of my marbles for two others, one of each colour. Can I end up with five more blue marbles than red after a number of such trades?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
Six points are arranged in space so that no three are collinear. How many line segments can be formed by joining the points in pairs?
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?
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.
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...
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.
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.
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
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.
In this 7-sandwich: 7 1 3 1 6 4 3 5 7 2 4 6 2 5 there are 7 numbers between the 7s, 6 between the 6s etc. The article shows which values of n can make n-sandwiches and which cannot.
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
This article discusses how every Pythagorean triple (a, b, c) can be illustrated by a square and an L shape within another square. You are invited to find some triples for yourself.
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
The first of two articles on Pythagorean Triples which asks how many right angled triangles can you find with the lengths of each side exactly a whole number measurement. Try it!
Take any prime number greater than 3 , square it and subtract one. Working on the building blocks will help you to explain what is special about your results.
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?
Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.