Resources tagged with: Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Broad Topics > Thinking Mathematically > Mathematical reasoning & proof

Volume of a Pyramid and a Cone

Age 11 to 14

These formulae are often quoted, but rarely proved. In this article, we derive the formulae for the volumes of a square-based pyramid and a cone, using relatively simple mathematical concepts.

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.

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.

Concrete Wheel

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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?

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.

Pythagoras Proofs

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

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.

AMGM

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

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?

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. . . .

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?

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?

The Triangle Game

Age 11 to 16
Challenge Level

Can you discover whether this is a fair game?

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.

Matter of Scale

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.

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?

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?

Mediant Madness

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

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?

Towering Trapeziums

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

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. . . .

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.

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?

Con Tricks

Age 11 to 14

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

Tessellating Hexagons

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

Which hexagons tessellate?

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

Gift of Gems

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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?

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.

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.

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.

Unit Fractions

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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.

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?

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.

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. . . .

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?

More Number Pyramids

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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

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.