Resources tagged with: Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Broad Topics > Mathematical Thinking > Mathematical reasoning & proof

Magic Squares II

Age 14 to 18

An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.

Top-heavy Pyramids

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Use the numbers in the box below to make the base of a top-heavy pyramid whose top number is 200.

Always the Same

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

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.

A Long Time at the Till

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

Try to solve this very difficult problem and then study our two suggested solutions. How would you use your knowledge to try to solve variants on the original problem?

Iffy Logic

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

Can you rearrange the cards to make a series of correct mathematical statements?

Unit Interval

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

Take any two numbers between 0 and 1. Prove that the sum of the numbers is always less than one plus their product?

Impossible Sandwiches

Age 11 to 18

In this 7-sandwich: 7 1 3 1 6 4 3 5 7 2 4 6 2 5 there are 7 numbers between the 7s, 6 between the 6s etc. The article shows which values of n can make n-sandwiches and which cannot.

Eleven

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Replace each letter with a digit to make this addition correct.

To Prove or Not to Prove

Age 14 to 18

A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.

Tis Unique

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

Aba

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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.

Chocolate Maths

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

Neighbourly Addition

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Postage

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The country Sixtania prints postage stamps with only three values 6 lucres, 10 lucres and 15 lucres (where the currency is in lucres).Which values cannot be made up with combinations of these postage. . . .

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?

Breaking the Equation ' Empirical Argument = Proof '

Age 7 to 18

This article stems from research on the teaching of proof and offers guidance on how to move learners from focussing on experimental arguments to mathematical arguments and deductive reasoning.

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. . . .

Road Maker

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

Which of these roads will satisfy a Munchkin builder?

Proof Sorter - Quadratic Equation

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

This is an interactivity in which you have to sort the steps in the completion of the square into the correct order to prove the formula for the solutions of quadratic equations.

Power Mad!

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Dalmatians

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

Investigate the sequences obtained by starting with any positive 2 digit number (10a+b) and repeatedly using the rule 10a+b maps to 10b-a to get the next number in the sequence.

Elevenses

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Leonardo's Problem

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

A, B & C own a half, a third and a sixth of a coin collection. Each grab some coins, return some, then share equally what they had put back, finishing with their own share. How rich are they?

Proof: A Brief Historical Survey

Age 14 to 18

If you think that mathematical proof is really clearcut and universal then you should read this article.

Sticky Numbers

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Can you arrange the numbers 1 to 17 in a row so that each adjacent pair adds up to a square number?

The Great Weights Puzzle

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

You have twelve weights, one of which is different from the rest. Using just 3 weighings, can you identify which weight is the odd one out, and whether it is heavier or lighter than the rest?

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?

There's a Limit

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

Explore the continued fraction: 2+3/(2+3/(2+3/2+...)) What do you notice when successive terms are taken? What happens to the terms if the fraction goes on indefinitely?

DOTS Division

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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}.

Problem Solving, Using and Applying and Functional Mathematics

Age 5 to 18 Challenge Level:

Problem solving is at the heart of the NRICH site. All the problems give learners opportunities to learn, develop or use mathematical concepts and skills. Read here for more information.

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. . . .

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.

Proofs with Pictures

Age 14 to 18

Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.

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.

Calendar Capers

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Choose any three by three square of dates on a calendar page...

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. . . .

Iff

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

Take a triangular number, multiply it by 8 and add 1. What is special about your answer? Can you prove it?

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. . . .

Calculating with Cosines

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

If I tell you two sides of a right-angled triangle, you can easily work out the third. But what if the angle between the two sides is not a right angle?

Advent Calendar 2011 - Secondary

Age 11 to 18 Challenge Level:

Advent Calendar 2011 - a mathematical activity for each day during the run-up to Christmas.

Even So

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

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. . . .

9 Weights

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

What Numbers Can We Make Now?

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Pattern of Islands

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

In how many distinct ways can six islands be joined by bridges so that each island can be reached from every other island...

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?

Our Ages

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

Never Prime

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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.

Mod 3

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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