Charlie likes tablecloths that use as many colours as possible, but insists that his tablecloths have some symmetry. Can you work out how many colours he needs for different tablecloth designs?
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
Can you show that you can share a square pizza equally between two people by cutting it four times using vertical, horizontal and diagonal cuts through any point inside the square?
Explore the effect of reflecting in two intersecting mirror lines.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
A red square and a blue square overlap so that the corner of the red square rests on the centre of the blue square. Show that, whatever the orientation of the red square, it covers a quarter of the. . . .
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 game for 2 players
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.
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.
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. . . .
The opposite vertices of a square have coordinates (a,b) and (c,d). What are the coordinates of the other vertices?
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?
A game for 2 players with similaritlies to NIM. Place one counter on each spot on the games board. Players take it is turns to remove 1 or 2 adjacent counters. The winner picks up the last counter.
A collection of games on the NIM theme
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
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.
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 find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
What is the volume of the solid formed by rotating this right angled triangle about the hypotenuse?
A game for 2 players. Set out 16 counters in rows of 1,3,5 and 7. Players take turns to remove any number of counters from a row. The player left with the last counter looses.
Explore the effect of reflecting in two parallel mirror lines.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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.
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
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.
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?
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
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. . . .
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.
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 work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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?
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. . . .
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?
Can you tangle yourself up and reach any fraction?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
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. . . .
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.
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =