Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.

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?

In this third of five articles we prove that whatever whole number we start with for the Happy Number sequence we will always end up with some set of numbers being repeated over and over again.

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.

Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.

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.

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!

A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.

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?

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.

In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...

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?

Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?

What is the largest number of intersection points that a triangle and a quadrilateral can have?

When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?

The knight's move on a chess board is 2 steps in one direction and one step in the other direction. Prove that a knight cannot visit every square on the board once and only (a tour) on a 2 by n board. . . .

If I tell you two sides of a right-angled triangle, you can easily work out the third. But what if the angle between the two sides is not a right angle?

The country Sixtania prints postage stamps with only three values 6 lucres, 10 lucres and 15 lucres (where the currency is in lucres).Which values cannot be made up with combinations of these postage. . . .

Draw some quadrilaterals on a 9-point circle and work out the angles. Is there a theorem?

The first of five articles concentrating on whole number dynamics, ideas of general dynamical systems are introduced and seen in concrete cases.

L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?

If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?

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. . . .

This is the second of two articles and discusses problems relating to the curvature of space, shortest distances on surfaces, triangulations of surfaces and representation by graphs.

We have exactly 100 coins. There are five different values of coins. We have decided to buy a piece of computer software for 39.75. We have the correct money, not a penny more, not a penny less! Can. . . .

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.

If you think that mathematical proof is really clearcut and universal then you should read this article.

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.

Start with any whole number N, write N as a multiple of 10 plus a remainder R and produce a new whole number N'. Repeat. What happens?

Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the numbers is always less than one plus their product?

Prove that, given any three parallel lines, an equilateral triangle always exists with one vertex on each of the three lines.

A game for 2 players that can be played online. Players take it in turns to select a word from the 9 words given. The aim is to select all the occurrences of the same letter.

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 tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!

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. . . .

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.

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?

The final of five articles which containe the proof of why the sequence introduced in article IV either reaches the fixed point 0 or the sequence enters a repeating cycle of four values.

Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?

An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.

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.

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.

Take any whole number between 1 and 999, add the squares of the digits to get a new number. Make some conjectures about what happens in general.

What can you say about the lengths of the sides of a quadrilateral whose vertices are on a unit circle?

A standard die has the numbers 1, 2 and 3 are opposite 6, 5 and 4 respectively so that opposite faces add to 7? If you make standard dice by writing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on blank cubes you will find. . . .

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?

Four identical right angled triangles are drawn on the sides of a square. Two face out, two face in. Why do the four vertices marked with dots lie on one line?