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?
The knight's move on a chess board is 2 steps in one direction and one step in the other direction. Prove that a knight cannot visit every square on the board once and only (a tour) on a 2 by n board. . . .
Six points are arranged in space so that no three are collinear. How many line segments can be formed by joining the points in pairs?
Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.
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?
Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry
Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.
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?
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
From a group of any 4 students in a class of 30, each has exchanged Christmas cards with the other three. Show that some students have exchanged cards with all the other students in the class. How. . . .
This is the second of two articles and discusses problems relating to the curvature of space, shortest distances on surfaces, triangulations of surfaces and representation by graphs.
I want some cubes painted with three blue faces and three red faces. How many different cubes can be painted like that?
Draw a 'doodle' - a closed intersecting curve drawn without taking pencil from paper. What can you prove about the intersections?
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 diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!
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.
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third places?
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.
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
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?
Let a(n) be the number of ways of expressing the integer n as an ordered sum of 1's and 2's. Let b(n) be the number of ways of expressing n as an ordered sum of integers greater than 1. (i) Calculate. . . .
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. . . .
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?
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. . . .
What is the largest number of intersection points that a triangle and a quadrilateral can have?
When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?
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. . . .
Whenever two chameleons of different colours meet they change colour to the third colour. Describe the shortest sequence of meetings in which all the chameleons change to green if you start with 12. . . .
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
There are 12 identical looking coins, one of which is a fake. The counterfeit coin is of a different weight to the rest. What is the minimum number of weighings needed to locate the fake coin?
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.
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.
What can you say about the lengths of the sides of a quadrilateral whose vertices are on a unit circle?
The largest square which fits into a circle is ABCD and EFGH is a square with G and H on the line CD and E and F on the circumference of the circle. Show that AB = 5EF. Similarly the largest. . . .
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
Caroline and James pick sets of five numbers. Charlie chooses three of them that add together to make a multiple of three. Can they stop him?
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.
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.
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!
This is the second article on right-angled triangles whose edge lengths are whole numbers.
Points A, B and C are the centres of three circles, each one of which touches the other two. Prove that the perimeter of the triangle ABC is equal to the diameter of the largest circle.
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.
Prove that the shaded area of the semicircle is equal to the area of the inner circle.
Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?