Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
ABC and DEF are equilateral triangles of side 3 and 4 respectively. Construct an equilateral triangle whose area is the sum of the area of ABC and DEF.
Show that for any triangle it is always possible to construct 3
touching circles with centres at the vertices. Is it possible to
construct touching circles centred at the vertices of any polygon?
Janine noticed, while studying some cube numbers, that if you take
three consecutive whole numbers and multiply them together and then
add the middle number of the three, you get the middle number. . . .
What is the ratio of the area of a square inscribed in a semicircle to the area of the square inscribed in the entire circle?
Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she
does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are
the three numbers Jo had to start with?”
Triangle ABC is an equilateral triangle with three parallel lines going through the vertices. Calculate the length of the sides of the triangle if the perpendicular distances between the parallel. . . .
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?
Find the vertices of a pentagon given the midpoints of its sides.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
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?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
If you continue the pattern, can you predict what each of the following areas will be? Try to explain your prediction.
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 use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the
site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to
develop the skills of strategic planning.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
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 the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but
what if they were tilted?
Is there a relationship between the coordinates of the endpoints of a line and the number of grid squares it crosses?
Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated
the difference between square numbers?
Three circles have a maximum of six intersections with each other.
What is the maximum number of intersections that a hundred circles
A little bit of algebra explains this 'magic'. Ask a friend to pick 3 consecutive numbers and to tell you a multiple of 3. Then ask them to add the four numbers and multiply by 67, and to tell you. . . .
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?
Sets of integers like 3, 4, 5 are called Pythagorean Triples, because they could be the lengths of the sides of a right-angled triangle. Can you find any more?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
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?
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.
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums?
1/2 + 2/1 =
2/3 + 3/2 =
3/4 + 4/3 =
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces
of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had
no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
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.
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. . . .
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Triangle numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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. . . .
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?