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. . . .
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.
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
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. . . .
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?
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. . . .
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. . . .
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.
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
We are given a regular icosahedron having three red vertices. Show that it has a vertex that has at least two red neighbours.
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. . . .
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 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?
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. . . .
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?
There are four children in a family, two girls, Kate and Sally, and two boys, Tom and Ben. How old are the children?
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. . . .
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third places?
Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.
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. . . .
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?
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. . . .
Construct two equilateral triangles on a straight line. There are two lengths that look the same - can you prove it?
Toni Beardon has chosen this article introducing a rich area for practical exploration and discovery in 3D geometry
Imagine we have four bags containing a large number of 1s, 4s, 7s and 10s. What numbers can we make?
Four jewellers share their stock. Can you work out the relative values of their gems?
Can you make sense of these three proofs of Pythagoras' Theorem?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
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. . . .
Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.
It is impossible to trisect an angle using only ruler and compasses but it can be done using a carpenter's square.
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.
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?
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.
In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...
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.
Kyle and his teacher disagree about his test score - who is right?
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.
An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.
Patterns that repeat in a line are strangely interesting. How many types are there and how do you tell one type from another?
Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.