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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Modular Fractions

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

We only need 7 numbers for modulus (or clock) arithmetic mod 7 including working with fractions. Explore how to divide numbers and write fractions in modulus arithemtic.

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More Sums of Squares

Age 16 to 18

Tom writes about expressing numbers as the sums of three squares.

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Modulus Arithmetic and a Solution to Differences

Age 16 to 18

Peter Zimmerman, a Year 13 student at Mill Hill County High School in Barnet, London wrote this account of modulus arithmetic.

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Water Pistols

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

With n people anywhere in a field each shoots a water pistol at the nearest person. In general who gets wet? What difference does it make if n is odd or even?

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Take Three from Five

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

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Sums of Squares and Sums of Cubes

Age 16 to 18

An account of methods for finding whether or not a number can be written as the sum of two or more squares or as the sum of two or more cubes.

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Mod 3

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove that if a^2+b^2 is a multiple of 3 then both a and b are multiples of 3.

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How Many Solutions?

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Find all the solutions to the this equation.

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Modulus Arithmetic and a Solution to Dirisibly Yours

Age 16 to 18

Peter Zimmerman from Mill Hill County High School in Barnet, London gives a neat proof that: 5^(2n+1) + 11^(2n+1) + 17^(2n+1) is divisible by 33 for every non negative integer n.

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Polite Numbers

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

A polite number can be written as the sum of two or more consecutive positive integers. Find the consecutive sums giving the polite numbers 544 and 424. What characterizes impolite numbers?

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Prime AP

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

What can you say about the common difference of an AP where every term is prime?

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Big, Bigger, Biggest

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Which is the biggest and which the smallest of $2000^{2002}, 2001^{2001} \text{and } 2002^{2000}$?

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Sixational

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

The nth term of a sequence is given by the formula n^3 + 11n . Find the first four terms of the sequence given by this formula and the first term of the sequence which is bigger than one million. . . .

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Pythagorean Triples I

Age 11 to 16

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!

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A Biggy

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Find the smallest positive integer N such that N/2 is a perfect cube, N/3 is a perfect fifth power and N/5 is a perfect seventh power.

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Three Ways

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

If x + y = -1 find the largest value of xy by coordinate geometry, by calculus and by algebra.

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Common Divisor

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Find the largest integer which divides every member of the following sequence: 1^5-1, 2^5-2, 3^5-3, ... n^5-n.

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Square Mean

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less than, the square of their means?

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N000ughty Thoughts

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

How many noughts are at the end of these giant numbers?

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For What?

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove that if the integer n is divisible by 4 then it can be written as the difference of two squares.

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Why 24?

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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.

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Triangular Intersection

Age 14 to 16 Short Challenge Level:

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

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Pythagorean Triples II

Age 11 to 16

This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.

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Sprouts Explained

Age 7 to 18

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. . . .

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More Number Sandwiches

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?

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Dodgy Proofs

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

These proofs are wrong. Can you see why?

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Advent Calendar 2011 - Secondary

Age 11 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

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The Clue Is in the Question

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Starting with one of the mini-challenges, how many of the other mini-challenges will you invent for yourself?

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Iffy Logic

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

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The Great Weights Puzzle

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

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Thousand Words

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Here the diagram says it all. Can you find the diagram?

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Where Do We Get Our Feet Wet?

Age 16 to 18

Professor Korner has generously supported school mathematics for more than 30 years and has been a good friend to NRICH since it started.

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Perfectly Square

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect square - can you explain why?

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Unit Interval

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

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Number Rules - OK

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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...

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Impossible Sandwiches

Age 11 to 18

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.

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Sperner's Lemma

Age 16 to 18

An article about the strategy for playing The Triangle Game which appears on the NRICH site. It contains a simple lemma about labelling a grid of equilateral triangles within a triangular frame.

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Picturing Pythagorean Triples

Age 14 to 18

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.

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To Prove or Not to Prove

Age 14 to 18

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

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Power Quady

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Find all real solutions of the equation (x^2-7x+11)^(x^2-11x+30) = 1.

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An Introduction to Number Theory

Age 16 to 18

An introduction to some beautiful results of Number Theory

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Without Calculus

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Given that u>0 and v>0 find the smallest possible value of 1/u + 1/v given that u + v = 5 by different methods.

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Geometry and Gravity 2

Age 11 to 18

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.

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The Triangle Game

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you discover whether this is a fair game?

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Composite Notions

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A composite number is one that is neither prime nor 1. Show that 10201 is composite in any base.

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Similarly So

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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.

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Square Pair Circles

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Investigate the number of points with integer coordinates on circles with centres at the origin for which the square of the radius is a power of 5.

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Basic Rhythms

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Explore a number pattern which has the same symmetries in different bases.

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Mediant Madness

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Kyle and his teacher disagree about his test score - who is right?

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Mouhefanggai

Age 14 to 16

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.