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

Find some triples of whole numbers a, b and c such that a^2 + b^2 + c^2 is a multiple of 4. Is it necessarily the case that a, b and c must all be even? If so, can you explain why?

I added together some of my neighbours' house numbers. Can you explain the patterns I noticed?

Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten. Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .

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

Powers of numbers behave in surprising ways. Take a look at some of these and try to explain why they are true.

How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?

Find the smallest positive integer N such that N/2 is a perfect cube, N/3 is a perfect fifth power and N/5 is a perfect seventh power.

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.

Make a set of numbers that use all the digits from 1 to 9, once and once only. Add them up. The result is divisible by 9. Add each of the digits in the new number. What is their sum? Now try some. . . .

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. . . .

In the following sum the letters A, B, C, D, E and F stand for six distinct digits. Find all the ways of replacing the letters with digits so that the arithmetic is correct.

Prove that if a^2+b^2 is a multiple of 3 then both a and b are multiples of 3.

Arrange the numbers 1 to 16 into a 4 by 4 array. Choose a number. Cross out the numbers on the same row and column. Repeat this process. Add up you four numbers. Why do they always add up to 34?

Find the largest integer which divides every member of the following sequence: 1^5-1, 2^5-2, 3^5-3, ... n^5-n.

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

How many noughts are at the end of these giant numbers?

I am exactly n times my daughter's age. In m years I shall be ... How old am I?

Take any pair of two digit numbers x=ab and y=cd where, without loss of generality, ab > cd . Form two 4 digit numbers r=abcd and s=cdab and calculate: {r^2 - s^2} /{x^2 - y^2}.

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?

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?

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?

Take any prime number greater than 3 , square it and subtract one. Working on the building blocks will help you to explain what is special about your results.

Can you convince me of each of the following: If a square number is multiplied by a square number the product is ALWAYS a square number...

A composite number is one that is neither prime nor 1. Show that 10201 is composite in any base.

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.

The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect square - can you explain why?

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

Can you explain why a sequence of operations always gives you perfect squares?

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

This addition sum uses all ten digits 0, 1, 2...9 exactly once. Find the sum and show that the one you give is the only possibility.

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. . . .

If a two digit number has its digits reversed and the smaller of the two numbers is subtracted from the larger, prove the difference can never be prime.

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?

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?

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?

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

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?

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.

Euler found four whole numbers such that the sum of any two of the numbers is a perfect square...

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

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

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

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