Resources tagged with: Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Broad Topics > Thinking Mathematically > Mathematical reasoning & proof

Not Necessarily in That Order

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

Baker, Cooper, Jones and Smith are four people whose occupations are teacher, welder, mechanic and programmer, but not necessarily in that order. What is each person’s occupation?

Winning Team

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

Nine cross country runners compete in a team competition in which there are three matches. If you were a judge how would you decide who would win?

Mediant Madness

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

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. . . .

Matter of Scale

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.

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?

AMGM

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

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?

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.

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. . . .

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.

Concrete Wheel

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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

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.

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.

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?

Dicing with Numbers

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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?

Flight of the Flibbins

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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. . . .

More Number Pyramids

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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

Calendar Capers

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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

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.

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?

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. . . .

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?

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. . . .

Tessellating Hexagons

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

Which hexagons tessellate?

L-triominoes

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?

The Triangle Game

Age 11 to 16
Challenge Level

Can you discover whether this is a fair game?

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?

Pythagoras Proofs

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

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. . . .

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?

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. . . .

Paradoxes

Age 7 to 14

A paradox is a statement that seems to be both untrue and true at the same time. This article looks at a few examples and challenges you to investigate them for yourself.

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. . . .

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.

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.

Take Three from Five

Age 11 to 16
Challenge Level

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?

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!

Pythagorean Triples II

Age 11 to 16

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

Proofs with Pictures

Age 14 to 18

Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.

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?

Children at Large

Age 11 to 14
Challenge Level

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

Composite Notions

Age 14 to 16
Challenge Level

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

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.

Magic Squares II

Age 14 to 18

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

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

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...

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.

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.

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.