Resources tagged with: Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Broad Topics > Mathematical Thinking > Mathematical reasoning & proof

Without Calculus

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Given that u>0 and v>0 find the smallest possible value of 1/u + 1/v given that u + v = 5 by different methods.

Three Ways

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

If x + y = -1 find the largest value of xy by coordinate geometry, by calculus and by algebra.

Fractional Calculus III

Age 16 to 18

Fractional calculus is a generalisation of ordinary calculus where you can differentiate n times when n is not a whole number.

Big, Bigger, Biggest

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Which is the biggest and which the smallest of $2000^{2002}, 2001^{2001} \text{and } 2002^{2000}$?

Little and Large

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

A point moves around inside a rectangle. What are the least and the greatest values of the sum of the squares of the distances from the vertices?

Pair Squares

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

The sum of any two of the numbers 2, 34 and 47 is a perfect square. Choose three square numbers and find sets of three integers with this property. Generalise to four integers.

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?

Truth Tables and Electronic Circuits

Age 11 to 18

Investigate circuits and record your findings in this simple introduction to truth tables and logic.

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.

Integral Inequality

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

An inequality involving integrals of squares of functions.

Find the Fake

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

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?

Triangle Incircle Iteration

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Keep constructing triangles in the incircle of the previous triangle. What happens?

Stonehenge

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Explain why, when moving heavy objects on rollers, the object moves twice as fast as the rollers. Try a similar experiment yourself.

Golden Eggs

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Find a connection between the shape of a special ellipse and an infinite string of nested square roots.

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?

Areas and Ratios

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Do you have enough information to work out the area of the shaded quadrilateral?

Generally Geometric

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Generalise the sum of a GP by using derivatives to make the coefficients into powers of the natural numbers.

How Many Solutions?

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Find all the solutions to the this equation.

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Find all positive integers a and b for which the two equations: x^2-ax+b = 0 and x^2-bx+a = 0 both have positive integer solutions.

Diverging

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Show that for natural numbers x and y if x/y > 1 then x/y>(x+1)/(y+1}>1. Hence prove that the product for i=1 to n of [(2i)/(2i-1)] tends to infinity as n tends to infinity.

Shape and Territory

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

If for any triangle ABC tan(A - B) + tan(B - C) + tan(C - A) = 0 what can you say about the triangle?

Interpolating Polynomials

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Given a set of points (x,y) with distinct x values, find a polynomial that goes through all of them, then prove some results about the existence and uniqueness of these polynomials.

Continued Fractions II

Age 16 to 18

In this article we show that every whole number can be written as a continued fraction of the form k/(1+k/(1+k/...)).

Magic Squares II

Age 14 to 18

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

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.

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.

Pent

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

The diagram shows a regular pentagon with sides of unit length. Find all the angles in the diagram. Prove that the quadrilateral shown in red is a rhombus.

Matter of Scale

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Prove Pythagoras' Theorem using enlargements and scale factors.

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.

Modulus Arithmetic and a Solution to Differences

Age 16 to 18

Peter Zimmerman, a Year 13 student at Mill Hill County High School in Barnet, London wrote this account of modulus arithmetic.

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.

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. . . .

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.

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.

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.

Number Rules - OK

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you convince me of each of the following: If a square number is multiplied by a square number the product is ALWAYS a square number...

Square Pair Circles

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Investigate the number of points with integer coordinates on circles with centres at the origin for which the square of the radius is a power of 5.

Euclid's Algorithm II

Age 16 to 18

We continue the discussion given in Euclid's Algorithm I, and here we shall discover when an equation of the form ax+by=c has no solutions, and when it has infinitely many solutions.

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

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.

Sums of Squares and Sums of Cubes

Age 16 to 18

An account of methods for finding whether or not a number can be written as the sum of two or more squares or as the sum of two or more cubes.

A Computer Program to Find Magic Squares

Age 16 to 18

This follows up the 'magic Squares for Special Occasions' article which tells you you to create a 4by4 magicsquare with a special date on the top line using no negative numbers and no repeats.

Euler's Formula and Topology

Age 16 to 18

Here is a proof of Euler's formula in the plane and on a sphere together with projects to explore cases of the formula for a polygon with holes, for the torus and other solids with holes and the. . . .

Transitivity

Age 16 to 18

Suppose A always beats B and B always beats C, then would you expect A to beat C? Not always! What seems obvious is not always true. Results always need to be proved in mathematics.

Proofs with Pictures

Age 14 to 18

Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.

More Sums of Squares

Age 16 to 18

Tom writes about expressing numbers as the sums of three 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

Modulus Arithmetic and a Solution to Dirisibly Yours

Age 16 to 18

Peter Zimmerman from Mill Hill County High School in Barnet, London gives a neat proof that: 5^(2n+1) + 11^(2n+1) + 17^(2n+1) is divisible by 33 for every non negative integer n.

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?