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.
Take any two positive numbers. Calculate the arithmetic and geometric means. Repeat the calculations to generate a sequence of arithmetic means and geometric means. Make a note of what happens to the. . . .
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other. What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles could have?
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. . . .
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two numbers...
Can you explain how this card trick works?
Choose a couple of the sequences. Try to picture how to make the next, and the next, and the next... Can you describe your reasoning?
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. . . .
Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
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.
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
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.
The diagram illustrates the formula: 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n - 1) = nĀ² Use the diagram to show that any odd number is the difference of two squares.
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.
Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?
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?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow paint on their faces?
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.
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both has increased. How can this be so?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Imagine you have a large supply of 3kg and 8kg weights. How many of each weight would you need for the average (mean) of the weights to be 6kg? What other averages could you have?
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
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.
We can show that (x + 1)² = x² + 2x + 1 by considering the area of an (x + 1) by (x + 1) square. Show in a similar way that (x + 2)² = x² + 4x + 4
Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?
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.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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.
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind maths trails.
The diagram shows a 5 by 5 geoboard with 25 pins set out in a square array. Squares are made by stretching rubber bands round specific pins. What is the total number of squares that can be made on a. . . .
In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces (top, bottom, front and back) is equal?