Resources tagged with: Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Broad Topics > Thinking Mathematically > Mathematical reasoning & proof

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?

The Pillar of Chios

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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.

Salinon

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

This shape comprises four semi-circles. What is the relationship between the area of the shaded region and the area of the circle on AB as diameter?

Coins on a Plate

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

No Right Angle Here

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove that the internal angle bisectors of a triangle will never be perpendicular to each other.

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.

A Chordingly

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Find the area of the annulus in terms of the length of the chord which is tangent to the inner circle.

Long Short

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

What can you say about the lengths of the sides of a quadrilateral whose vertices are on a unit circle?

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?

Cyclic Quad Jigsaw

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A picture is made by joining five small quadrilaterals together to make a large quadrilateral. Is it possible to draw a similar picture if all the small quadrilaterals are cyclic?

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?

Fitting In

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Encircling

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

An equilateral triangle is sitting on top of a square. What is the radius of the circle that circumscribes this shape?

Round and Round

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove that the shaded area of the semicircle is equal to the area of the inner circle.

Pythagoras Proofs

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Pythagorean Triples I

Age 11 to 16

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!

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.

Pythagorean Triples II

Age 11 to 16

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

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.

Tessellating Hexagons

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Which hexagons tessellate?

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?

Towering Trapeziums

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you find the areas of the trapezia in this sequence?

Three Balls

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

A circle has centre O and angle POR = angle QOR. Construct tangents at P and Q meeting at T. Draw a circle with diameter OT. Do P and Q lie inside, or on, or outside this circle?

Matter of Scale

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.

Lens Angle

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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.

Pareq Exists

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove that, given any three parallel lines, an equilateral triangle always exists with one vertex on each of the three lines.

Pent

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

The diagram shows a regular pentagon with sides of unit length. Find all the angles in the diagram. Prove that the quadrilateral shown in red is a rhombus.

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.

Rhombus in Rectangle

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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.

Kite in a Square

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Con Tricks

Age 11 to 14

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

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?

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.

More Number Sandwiches

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?

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?

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.

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?

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?

Folding Fractions

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Chameleons

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

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?

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.

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. . . .

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?

Triangle Incircle Iteration

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Keep constructing triangles in the incircle of the previous triangle. What happens?

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.

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?

Concrete Wheel

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Always Perfect

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

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?