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?
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes
there would be if hundreds of people met?
Is there a relationship between the coordinates of the endpoints of a line and the number of grid squares it crosses?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on
each diagonal. What do you notice?
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
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.
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
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 the values at the vertices when you know the values on
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. . . .
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or
subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?
Start with two numbers and generate a sequence where the next number is the mean of the last two numbers...
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.
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
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.
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
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
Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both
has increased. How can this be so?
An account of some magic squares and their properties and and how to construct them for yourself.
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. . . .
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
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?
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?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd
numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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.
Explore the effect of combining enlargements.
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
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?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
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.
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
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. . . .
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 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?”
Can you find the area of a parallelogram defined by two vectors?
Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated
the difference between square numbers?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there
are in different sized boxes?
These gnomons appear to have more than a passing connection with
the Fibonacci sequence. This problem ask you to investigate some of
A country has decided to have just two different coins, 3z and 5z
coins. Which totals can be made? Is there a largest total that
cannot be made? How do you know?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Many numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers. For example, 15=7+8 and 10=1+2+3+4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed in this way?