Resources tagged with: Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Broad Topics > Thinking Mathematically > Mathematical reasoning & proof

Target Six

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Show that x = 1 is a solution of the equation x^(3/2) - 8x^(-3/2) = 7 and find all other solutions.

Plus or Minus

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Make and prove a conjecture about the value of the product of the Fibonacci numbers $F_{n+1}F_{n-1}$.

More Dicey Decisions

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

The twelve edge totals of a standard six-sided die are distributed symmetrically. Will the same symmetry emerge with a dodecahedral die?

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.

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/...)).

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.

Power Quady

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Find all real solutions of the equation (x^2-7x+11)^(x^2-11x+30) = 1.

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.

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.

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.

Pythagorean Golden Means

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Show that the arithmetic mean, geometric mean and harmonic mean of a and b can be the lengths of the sides of a right-angles triangle if and only if a = bx^3, where x is the Golden Ratio.

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.

Rational Roots

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Given that a, b and c are natural numbers show that if sqrt a+sqrt b is rational then it is a natural number. Extend this to 3 variables.

How Many Solutions?

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Find all the solutions to the this equation.

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.

Truth Tables and Electronic Circuits

Age 11 to 18

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

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?

The Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Numbers and Continued Fractions.

Age 14 to 16

An iterative method for finding the value of the Golden Ratio with explanations of how this involves the ratios of Fibonacci numbers and continued fractions.

Polynomial Relations

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Given any two polynomials in a single variable it is always possible to eliminate the variable and obtain a formula showing the relationship between the two polynomials. Try this one.

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.

Napoleon's Hat

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Three equilateral triangles ABC, AYX and XZB are drawn with the point X a moveable point on AB. The points P, Q and R are the centres of the three triangles. What can you say about triangle PQR?

Iffy Logic

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

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?

Mind Your Ps and Qs

Age 16 to 18 Short Challenge Level:

Sort these mathematical propositions into a series of 8 correct statements.

Impossible Triangles?

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Which of these triangular jigsaws are impossible to finish?

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?

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.

Thousand Words

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Here the diagram says it all. Can you find the diagram?

Water Pistols

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

With n people anywhere in a field each shoots a water pistol at the nearest person. In general who gets wet? What difference does it make if n is odd or even?

Big, Bigger, Biggest

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

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?

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.

Mechanical Integration

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

To find the integral of a polynomial, evaluate it at some special points and add multiples of these values.

Quadratic Harmony

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.

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?

Proof of Pick's Theorem

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Follow the hints and prove Pick's Theorem.

Telescoping Functions

Age 16 to 18

Take a complicated fraction with the product of five quartics top and bottom and reduce this to a whole number. This is a numerical example involving some clever algebra.

Where Do We Get Our Feet Wet?

Age 16 to 18

Professor Korner has generously supported school mathematics for more than 30 years and has been a good friend to NRICH since it started.

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.

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

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.

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.

Direct Logic

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Can you work through these direct proofs, using our interactive proof sorters?

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?

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.

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.

Tetra Inequalities

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Prove that in every tetrahedron there is a vertex such that the three edges meeting there have lengths which could be the sides of a triangle.

Dodgy Proofs

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

These proofs are wrong. Can you see why?

Proof Sorter - Geometric Series

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Can you correctly order the steps in the proof of the formula for the sum of a geometric series?

Encircling

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

An equilateral triangle is sitting on top of a square. What is the radius of the circle that circumscribes this shape?