The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
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.
Is it possible to rearrange the numbers 1,2......12 around a clock face in such a way that every two numbers in adjacent positions differ by any of 3, 4 or 5 hours?
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. . . .
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Are these statements relating to odd and even numbers always true, sometimes true or never true?
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?
Liam's house has a staircase with 12 steps. He can go down the steps one at a time or two at time. In how many different ways can Liam go down the 12 steps?
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?
Choose any three by three square of dates on a calendar page...
Which set of numbers that add to 10 have the largest product?
Write down a three-digit number Change the order of the digits to get a different number Find the difference between the two three digit numbers Follow the rest of the instructions then try. . . .
This jar used to hold perfumed oil. It contained enough oil to fill granid silver bottles. Each bottle held enough to fill ozvik golden goblets and each goblet held enough to fill vaswik crystal. . . .
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. . . .
Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .
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. . . .
In how many ways can you arrange three dice side by side on a surface so that the sum of the numbers on each of the four faces (top, bottom, front and back) is equal?
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.
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.
This article introduces the idea of generic proof for younger children and illustrates how one example can offer a proof of a general result through unpacking its underlying structure.
In the following sum the letters A, B, C, D, E and F stand for six distinct digits. Find all the ways of replacing the letters with digits so that the arithmetic is correct.
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. . . .
You have been given nine weights, one of which is slightly heavier than the rest. Can you work out which weight is heavier in just two weighings of the balance?
A standard die has the numbers 1, 2 and 3 are opposite 6, 5 and 4 respectively so that opposite faces add to 7? If you make standard dice by writing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 on blank cubes you will find. . . .
A game for 2 players that can be played online. Players take it in turns to select a word from the 9 words given. The aim is to select all the occurrences of the same letter.
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. . . .
Gabriel multiplied together some numbers and then erased them. Can you figure out where each number was?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
I start with a red, a green and a blue marble. I can trade any of my marbles for two others, one of each colour. Can I end up with five more blue marbles than red after a number of such trades?
I start with a red, a blue, a green and a yellow marble. I can trade any of my marbles for three others, one of each colour. Can I end up with exactly two marbles of each colour?
Use your knowledge of place value to try to win this game. How will you maximise your score?
Do you know how to find the area of a triangle? You can count the squares. What happens if we turn the triangle on end? Press the button and see. Try counting the number of units in the triangle now. . . .
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.
Can you find out which 3D shape your partner has chosen before they work out your shape?
Draw some quadrilaterals on a 9-point circle and work out the angles. Is there a theorem?
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
Construct two equilateral triangles on a straight line. There are two lengths that look the same - can you prove it?
Look at what happens when you take a number, square it and subtract your answer. What kind of number do you get? Can you prove it?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
This article for primary teachers suggests ways in which we can help learners move from being novice reasoners to expert reasoners.
In this article for primary teachers we consider in depth when we might reason which helps us understand what reasoning 'looks like'.
Are these statements always true, sometimes true or never true?
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?