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. . . .
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.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
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. . . .
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
A huge wheel is rolling past your window. What do you see?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
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?
Can you discover whether this is a fair game?
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.
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
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.
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. . . .
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?
Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.
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. . . .
Show that if you add 1 to the product of four consecutive numbers the answer is ALWAYS a perfect square.
We have exactly 100 coins. There are five different values of coins. We have decided to buy a piece of computer software for 39.75. We have the correct money, not a penny more, not a penny less! Can. . . .
If you know the sizes of the angles marked with coloured dots in this diagram which angles can you find by calculation?
Show that among the interior angles of a convex polygon there cannot be more than three acute angles.
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.
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.
Eight children enter the autumn cross-country race at school. How many possible ways could they come in at first, second and third places?
Can you find the areas of the trapezia in this sequence?
Kyle and his teacher disagree about his test score - who is right?
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. . . .
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.
Which hexagons tessellate?
Can you see how this picture illustrates the formula for the sum of the first six cube numbers?
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. . . .
Four jewellers share their stock. Can you work out the relative values of their gems?
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.
Patterns that repeat in a line are strangely interesting. How many types are there and how do you tell one type from another?
Is the mean of the squares of two numbers greater than, or less than, the square of their means?
What does logic mean to us and is that different to mathematical logic? We will explore these questions in this article.
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?
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. . . .
I want some cubes painted with three blue faces and three red faces. How many different cubes can be painted like that?
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?
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?
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?
Can you explain why a sequence of operations always gives you perfect squares?
Whenever two chameleons of different colours meet they change colour to the third colour. Describe the shortest sequence of meetings in which all the chameleons change to green if you start with 12. . . .
Can you make sense of the three methods to work out the area of the kite in the square?
An equilateral triangle is sitting on top of a square. What is the radius of the circle that circumscribes this shape?
When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?
L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Here are some examples of 'cons', and see if you can figure out where the trick is.
What is the largest number of intersection points that a triangle and a quadrilateral can have?