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. . . .

Here are three 'tricks' to amaze your friends. But the really clever trick is explaining to them why these 'tricks' are maths not magic. Like all good magicians, you should practice by trying. . . .

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

Can you explain why a sequence of operations always gives you perfect squares?

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. . . .

Arrange the numbers 1 to 16 into a 4 by 4 array. Choose a number. Cross out the numbers on the same row and column. Repeat this process. Add up you four numbers. Why do they always add up to 34?

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

This article discusses how every Pythagorean triple (a, b, c) can be illustrated by a square and an L shape within another square. You are invited to find some triples for yourself.

If a two digit number has its digits reversed and the smaller of the two numbers is subtracted from the larger, prove the difference can never be prime.

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. . . .

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.

Explore what happens when you draw graphs of quadratic equations with coefficients based on a geometric sequence.

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.

Find some triples of whole numbers a, b and c such that a^2 + b^2 + c^2 is a multiple of 4. Is it necessarily the case that a, b and c must all be even? If so, can you explain why?

Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?

Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.

Find the missing angle between the two secants to the circle when the two angles at the centre subtended by the arcs created by the intersections of the secants and the circle are 50 and 120 degrees.

Janine noticed, while studying some cube numbers, that if you take three consecutive whole numbers and multiply them together and then add the middle number of the three, you get the middle number. . . .

Kyle and his teacher disagree about his test score - who is right?

Take any pair of two digit numbers x=ab and y=cd where, without loss of generality, ab > cd . Form two 4 digit numbers r=abcd and s=cdab and calculate: {r^2 - s^2} /{x^2 - y^2}.

I am exactly n times my daughter's age. In m years I shall be ... How old am I?

The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect square - can you explain why?

Imagine two identical cylindrical pipes meeting at right angles and think about the shape of the space which belongs to both pipes. Early Chinese mathematicians call this shape the mouhefanggai.

Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.

ABCD is a square. P is the midpoint of AB and is joined to C. A line from D perpendicular to PC meets the line at the point Q. Prove AQ = AD.

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. . . .

Patterns that repeat in a line are strangely interesting. How many types are there and how do you tell one type from another?

Take any rectangle ABCD such that AB > BC. The point P is on AB and Q is on CD. Show that there is exactly one position of P and Q such that APCQ is a rhombus.

This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.

The first of two articles on Pythagorean Triples which asks how many right angled triangles can you find with the lengths of each side exactly a whole number measurement. Try it!

Take any prime number greater than 3 , square it and subtract one. Working on the building blocks will help you to explain what is special about your results.

It is impossible to trisect an angle using only ruler and compasses but it can be done using a carpenter's square.

The country Sixtania prints postage stamps with only three values 6 lucres, 10 lucres and 15 lucres (where the currency is in lucres).Which values cannot be made up with combinations of these postage. . . .

If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?

Find the smallest positive integer N such that N/2 is a perfect cube, N/3 is a perfect fifth power and N/5 is a perfect seventh power.

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.

Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less than, the square of their means?

A composite number is one that is neither prime nor 1. Show that 10201 is composite in any base.

Semicircles are drawn on the sides of a rectangle. Prove that the sum of the areas of the four crescents is equal to the area of the rectangle.

Consider the equation 1/a + 1/b + 1/c = 1 where a, b and c are natural numbers and 0 < a < b < c. Prove that there is only one set of values which satisfy this equation.

Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.

What is the largest number of intersection points that a triangle and a quadrilateral can have?

When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?

Can you make sense of the three methods to work out the area of the kite in the square?

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

If I tell you two sides of a right-angled triangle, you can easily work out the third. But what if the angle between the two sides is not a right angle?

Construct two equilateral triangles on a straight line. There are two lengths that look the same - can you prove it?

Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.