Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.
Simple additions can lead to intriguing results...
Some puzzles requiring no knowledge of knot theory, just a careful inspection of the patterns. A glimpse of the classification of knots and a little about prime knots, crossing numbers and. . . .
A and B are two interlocking cogwheels having p teeth and q teeth respectively. One tooth on B is painted red. Find the values of p and q for which the red tooth on B contacts every gap on the. . . .
Place the numbers 1, 2, 3,..., 9 one on each square of a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows and columns add up to a prime number. How many different solutions can you find?
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.
Square numbers can be represented as the sum of consecutive odd numbers. What is the sum of 1 + 3 + ..... + 149 + 151 + 153?
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?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
A Hamiltonian circuit is a continuous path in a graph that passes through each of the vertices exactly once and returns to the start. How many Hamiltonian circuits can you find in these graphs?
Points P, Q, R and S each divide the sides AB, BC, CD and DA respectively in the ratio of 2 : 1. Join the points. What is the area of the parallelogram PQRS in relation to the original rectangle?
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.
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
A ribbon runs around a box so that it makes a complete loop with two parallel pieces of ribbon on the top. How long will the ribbon be?
A game for 2 players
This is a simple version of an ancient game played all over the world. It is also called Mancala. What tactics will increase your chances of winning?
If you move the tiles around, can you make squares with different coloured edges?
This article for teachers discusses examples of problems in which there is no obvious method but in which children can be encouraged to think deeply about the context and extend their ability to. . . .
A spider is sitting in the middle of one of the smallest walls in a room and a fly is resting beside the window. What is the shortest distance the spider would have to crawl to catch the fly?
Two motorboats travelling up and down a lake at constant speeds leave opposite ends A and B at the same instant, passing each other, for the first time 600 metres from A, and on their return, 400. . . .
A circle rolls around the outside edge of a square so that its circumference always touches the edge of the square. Can you describe the locus of the centre of the circle?
How many different symmetrical shapes can you make by shading triangles or squares?
A half-cube is cut into two pieces by a plane through the long diagonal and at right angles to it. Can you draw a net of these pieces? Are they identical?
Can you dissect a square into: 4, 7, 10, 13... other squares? 6, 9, 12, 15... other squares? 8, 11, 14... other squares?
Blue Flibbins are so jealous of their red partners that they will not leave them on their own with any other bue Flibbin. What is the quickest way of getting the five pairs of Flibbins safely to. . . .
In how many ways can you fit all three pieces together to make shapes with line symmetry?
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?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
Can you cross each of the seven bridges that join the north and south of the river to the two islands, once and once only, without retracing your steps?
The diagram shows a very heavy kitchen cabinet. It cannot be lifted but it can be pivoted around a corner. The task is to move it, without sliding, in a series of turns about the corners so that it. . . .
A 10x10x10 cube is made from 27 2x2 cubes with corridors between them. Find the shortest route from one corner to the opposite corner.
A cyclist and a runner start off simultaneously around a race track each going at a constant speed. The cyclist goes all the way around and then catches up with the runner. He then instantly turns. . . .
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
Seven small rectangular pictures have one inch wide frames. The frames are removed and the pictures are fitted together like a jigsaw to make a rectangle of length 12 inches. Find the dimensions of. . . .
ABCDEFGH is a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. Point P is 1/3 along AB (that is AP : PB = 1 : 2), point Q is 1/3 along GH and point R is 1/3 along ED. What is the area of the triangle PQR?
Four rods, two of length a and two of length b, are linked to form a kite. The linkage is moveable so that the angles change. What is the maximum area of the kite?
There are 27 small cubes in a 3 x 3 x 3 cube, 54 faces being visible at any one time. Is it possible to reorganise these cubes so that by dipping the large cube into a pot of paint three times you. . . .
Mike and Monisha meet at the race track, which is 400m round. Just to make a point, Mike runs anticlockwise whilst Monisha runs clockwise. Where will they meet on their way around and will they ever. . . .
Place a red counter in the top left corner of a 4x4 array, which is covered by 14 other smaller counters, leaving a gap in the bottom right hand corner (HOME). What is the smallest number of moves. . . .
How efficiently can you pack together disks?
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
Watch these videos to see how Phoebe, Alice and Luke chose to draw 7 squares. How would they draw 100?
Can you describe this route to infinity? Where will the arrows take you next?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Can you find a way of representing these arrangements of balls?
What is the shape of wrapping paper that you would need to completely wrap this model?
When dice land edge-up, we usually roll again. But what if we didn't...?
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?
Use the animation to help you work out how many lines are needed to draw mystic roses of different sizes.