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

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Russian Cubes

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

I want some cubes painted with three blue faces and three red faces. How many different cubes can be painted like that?

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Cube Net

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

How many tours visit each vertex of a cube once and only once? How many return to the starting point?

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N000ughty Thoughts

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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

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Knight Defeated

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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. . . .

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Transitivity

Stage: 5

Suppose A always beats B and B always beats C, then would you expect A to beat C? Not always! What seems obvious is not always true. Results always need to be proved in mathematics.

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Magic W Wrap Up

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Prove that you cannot form a Magic W with a total of 12 or less or with a with a total of 18 or more.

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Postage

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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. . . .

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Take Three from Five

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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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Symmetric Tangles

Stage: 4

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

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Doodles

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Draw a 'doodle' - a closed intersecting curve drawn without taking pencil from paper. What can you prove about the intersections?

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Impossible Triangles?

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Which of these triangular jigsaws are impossible to finish?

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Ordered Sums

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Let a(n) be the number of ways of expressing the integer n as an ordered sum of 1's and 2's. Let b(n) be the number of ways of expressing n as an ordered sum of integers greater than 1. (i) Calculate. . . .

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The Root Cause

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Prove that if a is a natural number and the square root of a is rational, then it is a square number (an integer n^2 for some integer n.)

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Logic, Truth Tables and Switching Circuits Challenge

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

Learn about the link between logical arguments and electronic circuits. Investigate the logical connectives by making and testing your own circuits and fill in the blanks in truth tables to record. . . .

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Picture Story

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?

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Mod 3

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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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Prime AP

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

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

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Triangle Incircle Iteration

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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

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More Sums of Squares

Stage: 5

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

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Mind Your Ps and Qs

Stage: 5 Short Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Sort these mathematical propositions into a series of 8 correct statements.

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Notty Logic

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Have a go at being mathematically negative, by negating these statements.

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The Clue Is in the Question

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

This problem is a sequence of linked mini-challenges leading up to the proof of a difficult final challenge, encouraging you to think mathematically. Starting with one of the mini-challenges, how. . . .

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What Numbers Can We Make Now?

Stage: 3 and 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?

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Air Nets

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Can you visualise whether these nets fold up into 3D shapes? Watch the videos each time to see if you were correct.

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Logic, Truth Tables and Switching Circuits

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

Learn about the link between logical arguments and electronic circuits. Investigate the logical connectives by making and testing your own circuits and record your findings in truth tables.

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Proof Sorter - Geometric Series

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

This is an interactivity in which you have to sort into the correct order the steps in the proof of the formula for the sum of a geometric series.

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Modulus Arithmetic and a Solution to Dirisibly Yours

Stage: 5

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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Continued Fractions II

Stage: 5

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

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A Computer Program to Find Magic Squares

Stage: 5

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.

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Modulus Arithmetic and a Solution to Differences

Stage: 5

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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Modular Fractions

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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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Cyclic Quad Jigsaw

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

A picture is made by joining five small quadrilaterals together to make a large quadrilateral. Is it possible to draw a similar picture if all the small quadrilaterals are cyclic?

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Rational Roots

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Given that a, b and c are natural numbers show that if sqrt a+sqrt b is rational then it is a natural number. Extend this to 3 variables.

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Road Maker 2

Stage: 5 Short Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Can you work out where the blue-and-red brick roads end?

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Truth Tables and Electronic Circuits

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

Investigate circuits and record your findings in this simple introduction to truth tables and logic.

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Tree Graphs

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

A connected graph is a graph in which we can get from any vertex to any other by travelling along the edges. A tree is a connected graph with no closed circuits (or loops. Prove that every tree has. . . .

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Picturing Pythagorean Triples

Stage: 4 and 5

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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Rhombus in Rectangle

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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.

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Pent

Stage: 4 and 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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.

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Composite Notions

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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

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Magic Squares II

Stage: 4 and 5

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

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Square Pair Circles

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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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Recent Developments on S.P. Numbers

Stage: 5

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.

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Similarly So

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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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Matter of Scale

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.

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Round and Round

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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

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Perfectly Square

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

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

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Three Frogs

Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Three frogs hopped onto the table. A red frog on the left a green in the middle and a blue frog on the right. Then frogs started jumping randomly over any adjacent frog. Is it possible for them to. . . .

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Water Pistols

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

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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Generally Geometric

Stage: 5 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:2 Challenge Level:2

Generalise the sum of a GP by using derivatives to make the coefficients into powers of the natural numbers.