The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written different fractions.
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
This challenge asks you to imagine a snake coiling on itself.
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. . . .
Find some examples of pairs of numbers such that their sum is a factor of their product. eg. 4 + 12 = 16 and 4 × 12 = 48 and 16 is a factor of 48.
Only one side of a two-slice toaster is working. What is the quickest way to toast both sides of three slices of bread?
List any 3 numbers. It is always possible to find a subset of adjacent numbers that add up to a multiple of 3. Can you explain why and prove it?
This challenge focuses on finding the sum and difference of pairs of two-digit numbers.
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?
Think of a number, add one, double it, take away 3, add the number you first thought of, add 7, divide by 3 and take away the number you first thought of. You should now be left with 2. How do I. . . .
Make some loops out of regular hexagons. What rules can you discover?
Choose any 3 digits and make a 6 digit number by repeating the 3 digits in the same order (e.g. 594594). Explain why whatever digits you choose the number will always be divisible by 7, 11 and 13.
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
How many ways can you find to do up all four buttons on my coat? How about if I had five buttons? Six ...?
The sum of the numbers 4 and 1 [1/3] is the same as the product of 4 and 1 [1/3]; that is to say 4 + 1 [1/3] = 4 × 1 [1/3]. What other numbers have the sum equal to the product and can this be so for. . . .
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
Sweets are given out to party-goers in a particular way. Investigate the total number of sweets received by people sitting in different positions.
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 find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
A game for two people, or play online. Given a target number, say 23, and a range of numbers to choose from, say 1-4, players take it in turns to add to the running total to hit their target.
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
Place the numbers from 1 to 9 in the squares below so that the difference between joined squares is odd. How many different ways can you do this?
Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?
This challenge, written for the Young Mathematicians' Award, invites you to explore 'centred squares'.
Find the sum and difference between a pair of two-digit numbers. Now find the sum and difference between the sum and difference! What happens?
Four bags contain a large number of 1s, 3s, 5s and 7s. Pick any ten numbers from the bags above so that their total is 37.
Great Granddad is very proud of his telegram from the Queen congratulating him on his hundredth birthday and he has friends who are even older than he is... When was he born?
This task follows on from Build it Up and takes the ideas into three dimensions!
Find a route from the outside to the inside of this square, stepping on as many tiles as possible.
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
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. . . .
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
Can you find all the ways to get 15 at the top of this triangle of numbers? Many opportunities to work in different ways.
The number of plants in Mr McGregor's magic potting shed increases overnight. He'd like to put the same number of plants in each of his gardens, planting one garden each day. How can he do it?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Benâ€™s class were cutting up number tracks. First they cut them into twos and added up the numbers on each piece. What patterns could they see?
Explore the effect of combining enlargements.
Does this 'trick' for calculating multiples of 11 always work? Why or why not?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
One block is needed to make an up-and-down staircase, with one step up and one step down. How many blocks would be needed to build an up-and-down staircase with 5 steps up and 5 steps down?
We can arrange dots in a similar way to the 5 on a dice and they usually sit quite well into a rectangular shape. How many altogether in this 3 by 5? What happens for other sizes?
Euler discussed whether or not it was possible to stroll around Koenigsberg crossing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Experiment with different numbers of islands and bridges.
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
In a Magic Square all the rows, columns and diagonals add to the 'Magic Constant'. How would you change the magic constant of this square?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...
Take a look at the video of this trick. Can you perform it yourself? Why is this maths and not magic?