Resources tagged with: Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Broad Topics > Mathematical Thinking > Mathematical reasoning & proof

Children at Large

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?

Gift of Gems

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Four jewellers share their stock. Can you work out the relative values of their gems?

Cross-country Race

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third places?

The Triangle Game

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you discover whether this is a fair game?

AMGM

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?

Disappearing Square

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Go Forth and Generalise

Age 11 to 14

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.

Logic

Age 7 to 14

What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.

More Number Pyramids

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...

Pattern of Islands

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...

Not Necessarily in That Order

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Baker, Cooper, Jones and Smith are four people whose occupations are teacher, welder, mechanic and programmer, but not necessarily in that order. What is each person’s occupation?

Multiplication Square

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Ratty

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Largest Product

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Which set of numbers that add to 10 have the largest product?

Cosines Rule

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Three points A, B and C lie in this order on a line, and P is any point in the plane. Use the Cosine Rule to prove the following statement.

The Genie in the Jar

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Thirty Nine, Seventy Five

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

We have exactly 100 coins. There are five different values of coins. We have decided to buy a piece of computer software for 39.75. We have the correct money, not a penny more, not a penny less! Can. . . .

Concrete Wheel

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?

Ordered Sums

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Con Tricks

Age 11 to 14

Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.

9 Weights

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

The Great Weights Puzzle

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

You have twelve weights, one of which is different from the rest. Using just 3 weighings, can you identify which weight is the odd one out, and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest?

Tri-colour

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

Converse

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Clearly if a, b and c are the lengths of the sides of an equilateral triangle then a^2 + b^2 + c^2 = ab + bc + ca. Is the converse true?

L-triominoes

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?

More Number Sandwiches

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?

More Marbles

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

Marbles

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

Knight Defeated

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Find the Fake

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

Greetings

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Sticky Numbers

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?

Russian Cubes

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

I want some cubes painted with three blue faces and three red faces. How many different cubes can be painted like that?

Triangular Intersection

Age 14 to 16 Short Challenge Level:

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

Picture Story

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?

Natural Sum

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The picture illustrates the sum 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = (4 x 5)/2. Prove the general formula for the sum of the first n natural numbers and the formula for the sum of the cubes of the first n natural. . . .

Cycle It

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Carry out cyclic permutations of nine digit numbers containing the digits from 1 to 9 (until you get back to the first number). Prove that whatever number you choose, they will add to the same total.

What Numbers Can We Make Now?

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Janine's Conjecture

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Advent Calendar 2011 - Secondary

Age 11 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

A Long Time at the Till

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

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?

Square Mean

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Take Three from Five

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Age 5 to 18 Challenge Level:

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.

Postage

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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 Numbers Can We Make?

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?

Seven Squares - Group-worthy Task

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

Classifying Solids Using Angle Deficiency

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry

Mouhefanggai

Age 14 to 16

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.

Mediant Madness

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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