Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...
First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to eat chocolate. Multiply this number by 2...
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. . . .
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 tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.
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 aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of moves.
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.
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.
A game for 2 players
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =
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?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.
The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
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?
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?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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 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.
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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 winner is the player to take the last counter.
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?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated the difference between square numbers?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
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?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
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?
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
A collection of games on the NIM theme
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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?
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?