Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?

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 you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?

It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...

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. . . .

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?

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.

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.

A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?

Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?

What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =

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?

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.

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.

Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?

How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?

Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?

Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?

Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?

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

Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?

Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?

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?

I added together some of my neighbours house numbers. Can you explain the patterns I noticed?

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. . . .

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. . . .

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?

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?

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. . . .

Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.

What is the total number of squares that can be made on a 5 by 5 geoboard?

An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.

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

Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?

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?

When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...

Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?

Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?

Is there a relationship between the coordinates of the endpoints of a line and the number of grid squares it crosses?

Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single pile. The loser is the player who takes the last counter.

It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?

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?

Charlie has moved between countries and the average income of both has increased. How can this be so?

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?”

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.