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

Fractional Calculus III

Age 16 to 18

Fractional calculus is a generalisation of ordinary calculus where you can differentiate n times when n is not a whole number.

Rhombus in Rectangle

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Take any rectangle ABCD such that AB > BC. The point P is on AB and Q is on CD. Show that there is exactly one position of P and Q such that APCQ is a rhombus.

Circle Box

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

It is obvious that we can fit four circles of diameter 1 unit in a square of side 2 without overlapping. What is the smallest square into which we can fit 3 circles of diameter 1 unit?

Fitting In

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The largest square which fits into a circle is ABCD and EFGH is a square with G and H on the line CD and E and F on the circumference of the circle. Show that AB = 5EF. Similarly the largest. . . .

Rolling Coins

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Shape and Territory

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

If for any triangle ABC tan(A - B) + tan(B - C) + tan(C - A) = 0 what can you say about the triangle?

The Pillar of Chios

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Semicircles are drawn on the sides of a rectangle. Prove that the sum of the areas of the four crescents is equal to the area of the rectangle.

Round and Round

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove that the shaded area of the semicircle is equal to the area of the inner circle.

Target Six

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Show that x = 1 is a solution of the equation x^(3/2) - 8x^(-3/2) = 7 and find all other solutions.

Encircling

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

An equilateral triangle is sitting on top of a square. What is the radius of the circle that circumscribes this shape?

Pythagoras Proofs

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?

Thousand Words

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

Zig Zag

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

Matter of Scale

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.

Cosines Rule

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Three points A, B and C lie in this order on a line, and P is any point in the plane. Use the Cosine Rule to prove the following statement.

Salinon

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

This shape comprises four semi-circles. What is the relationship between the area of the shaded region and the area of the circle on AB as diameter?

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.

There's a Limit

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

Explore the continued fraction: 2+3/(2+3/(2+3/2+...)) What do you notice when successive terms are taken? What happens to the terms if the fraction goes on indefinitely?

Three Balls

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A circle has centre O and angle POR = angle QOR. Construct tangents at P and Q meeting at T. Draw a circle with diameter OT. Do P and Q lie inside, or on, or outside this circle?

Towering Trapeziums

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you find the areas of the trapezia in this sequence?

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.

Golden Eggs

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Find a connection between the shape of a special ellipse and an infinite string of nested square roots.

Pent

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

The diagram shows a regular pentagon with sides of unit length. Find all the angles in the diagram. Prove that the quadrilateral shown in red is a rhombus.

Little and Large

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

A point moves around inside a rectangle. What are the least and the greatest values of the sum of the squares of the distances from the vertices?

Triangle Incircle Iteration

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Keep constructing triangles in the incircle of the previous triangle. What happens?

Pythagorean Triples II

Age 11 to 16

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

Kite in a Square

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you make sense of the three methods to work out the area of the kite in the square?

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.

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!

A Computer Program to Find Magic Squares

Age 16 to 18

This follows up the 'magic Squares for Special Occasions' article which tells you you to create a 4by4 magicsquare with a special date on the top line using no negative numbers and no repeats.

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.

Euler's Formula and Topology

Age 16 to 18

Here is a proof of Euler's formula in the plane and on a sphere together with projects to explore cases of the formula for a polygon with holes, for the torus and other solids with holes and the. . . .

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...

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

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.

Continued Fractions II

Age 16 to 18

In this article we show that every whole number can be written as a continued fraction of the form k/(1+k/(1+k/...)).

Try to Win

Age 16 to 18

Solve this famous unsolved problem and win a prize. Take a positive integer N. If even, divide by 2; if odd, multiply by 3 and add 1. Iterate. Prove that the sequence always goes to 4,2,1,4,2,1...

Yih or Luk Tsut K'i or Three Men's Morris

Age 11 to 18 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Magic Squares II

Age 14 to 18

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

Recent Developments on S.P. Numbers

Age 16 to 18

Take a number, add its digits then multiply the digits together, then multiply these two results. If you get the same number it is an SP number.

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.

Telescoping Functions

Age 16 to 18

Take a complicated fraction with the product of five quartics top and bottom and reduce this to a whole number. This is a numerical example involving some clever algebra.

A Knight's Journey

Age 14 to 18

This article looks at knight's moves on a chess board and introduces you to the idea of vectors and vector addition.

Whole Number Dynamics IV

Age 14 to 18

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?

Whole Number Dynamics V

Age 14 to 18

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.

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.

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.

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.

Classifying Solids Using Angle Deficiency

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry

The Triangle Game

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you discover whether this is a fair game?