Resources tagged with: Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Broad Topics > Thinking Mathematically > Mathematical reasoning & proof

Concrete Wheel

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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

Convex Polygons

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.

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. . . .

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. . . .

The Triangle Game

Age 11 to 16
Challenge Level

Can you discover whether this is a fair game?

Similarly So

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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.

Tourism

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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.

AMGM

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

Konigsberg Plus

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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.

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?

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.

How Many Dice?

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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. . . .

More Number Pyramids

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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

Pythagoras Proofs

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?

Clocked

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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?

Matter of Scale

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.

Same Length

Age 11 to 16
Challenge Level

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

Proximity

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.

Parallel Universe

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

An equilateral triangle is constructed on BC. A line QD is drawn, where Q is the midpoint of AC. Prove that AB // QD.

Dicing with Numbers

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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?

Flight of the Flibbins

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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. . . .

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. . . .

Is it Magic or Is it Maths?

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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. . . .

More Mathematical Mysteries

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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. . . .

Mediant Madness

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

One O Five

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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. . . .

Cross-country Race

Age 14 to 16
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?

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?

Königsberg

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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?

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

Circle Box

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

It is obvious that we can fit four circles of diameter 1 unit in a square of side 2 without overlapping. What is the smallest square into which we can fit 3 circles of diameter 1 unit?

Tower of Hanoi

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.

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?

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?

Angle Trisection

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

Yih or Luk Tsut K'i or Three Men's Morris

Age 11 to 18
Challenge Level

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. . . .

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?

Cyclic Quadrilaterals

Age 11 to 16
Challenge Level

Draw some quadrilaterals on a 9-point circle and work out the angles. Is there a theorem?

Folding Squares

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

The diagonal of a square intersects the line joining one of the unused corners to the midpoint of the opposite side. What do you notice about the line segments produced?

Gift of Gems

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

Mindreader

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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. . . .

Folding Fractions

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

What fractions can you divide the diagonal of a square into by simple folding?

Zig Zag

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

Four identical right angled triangles are drawn on the sides of a square. Two face out, two face in. Why do the four vertices marked with dots lie on one line?

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?

Tessellating Hexagons

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

Which hexagons tessellate?

The Frieze Tree

Age 11 to 16

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

Proofs with Pictures

Age 14 to 18

Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.

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.

Picturing Pythagorean Triples

Age 14 to 18

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.