Resources tagged with: Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Broad Topics > Thinking Mathematically > Mathematical reasoning & proof

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.

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. . . .

The Triangle Game

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you discover whether this is a fair game?

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. . . .

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?

More Number Pyramids

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

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.

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. . . .

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?

Sprouts Explained

Age 7 to 18

This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .

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.

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?

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?

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?

Neighbourly Addition

Age 7 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

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?

Gift of Gems

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

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?

The Genie in the Jar

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

This jar used to hold perfumed oil. It contained enough oil to fill granid silver bottles. Each bottle held enough to fill ozvik golden goblets and each goblet held enough to fill vaswik crystal. . . .

Concrete Wheel

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

Take Three from Five

Age 14 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?

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.

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?

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. . . .

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. . . .

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?

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?

Is it Magic or Is it Maths?

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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. . . .

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?

1 Step 2 Step

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

Proofs with Pictures

Age 14 to 18

Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.

Cross-country Race

Age 11 to 14 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?

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.

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?

Magic Squares II

Age 14 to 18

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

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.

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}.

Tri-colour

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

Russian Cubes

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

I want some cubes painted with three blue faces and three red faces. How many different cubes can be painted like that?

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?

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.

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?

Road Maker

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

Which of these roads will satisfy a Munchkin builder?

Knight Defeated

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The knight's move on a chess board is 2 steps in one direction and one step in the other direction. Prove that a knight cannot visit every square on the board once and only (a tour) on a 2 by n board. . . .

What Numbers Can We Make?

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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

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?

More Marbles

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?

Marbles

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

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?