Resources tagged with: Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Broad Topics > Using, Applying and Reasoning about Mathematics > Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Big, Bigger, Biggest

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

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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.

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Power Quady

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

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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?

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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.

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To Prove or Not to Prove

Age 14 to 18

A serious but easily readable discussion of proof in mathematics with some amusing stories and some interesting examples.

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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.

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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.

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Modular Fractions

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

We only need 7 numbers for modulus (or clock) arithmetic mod 7 including working with fractions. Explore how to divide numbers and write fractions in modulus arithemtic.

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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?

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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.

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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. . . .

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Plus or Minus

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

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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.

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How Many Solutions?

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Find all the solutions to the this equation.

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The Clue Is in the Question

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Starting with one of the mini-challenges, how many of the other mini-challenges will you invent for yourself?

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Gift of Gems

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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

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A Biggy

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Find the smallest positive integer N such that N/2 is a perfect cube, N/3 is a perfect fifth power and N/5 is a perfect seventh power.

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Magic Squares II

Age 14 to 18

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

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Sixational

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

The nth term of a sequence is given by the formula n^3 + 11n . Find the first four terms of the sequence given by this formula and the first term of the sequence which is bigger than one million. . . .

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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. . . .

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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.

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Can it Be

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

When if ever do you get the right answer if you add two fractions by adding the numerators and adding the denominators?

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Prime AP

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

What can you say about the common difference of an AP where every term is prime?

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Proof of Pick's Theorem

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Follow the hints and prove Pick's Theorem.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Postage

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The country Sixtania prints postage stamps with only three values 6 lucres, 10 lucres and 15 lucres (where the currency is in lucres).Which values cannot be made up with combinations of these postage. . . .

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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.

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Polite Numbers

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

A polite number can be written as the sum of two or more consecutive positive integers. Find the consecutive sums giving the polite numbers 544 and 424. What characterizes impolite numbers?

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Magic W Wrap Up

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Prove that you cannot form a Magic W with a total of 12 or less or with a with a total of 18 or more.

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Why 24?

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Take any prime number greater than 3 , square it and subtract one. Working on the building blocks will help you to explain what is special about your results.

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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.

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More Sums of Squares

Age 16 to 18

Tom writes about expressing numbers as the sums of three squares.

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Some Circuits in Graph or Network Theory

Age 14 to 18

Eulerian and Hamiltonian circuits are defined with some simple examples and a couple of puzzles to illustrate Hamiltonian circuits.

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More Number Sandwiches

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?

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On the Importance of Pedantry

Age 16 to 18

A introduction to how patterns can be deceiving, and what is and is not a proof.

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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.

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Dodgy Proofs

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

These proofs are wrong. Can you see why?

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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.

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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?

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Areas and Ratios

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

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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.

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Iffy Logic

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

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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?

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Symmetric Tangles

Age 14 to 16

The tangles created by the twists and turns of the Conway rope trick are surprisingly symmetrical. Here's why!

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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. . . .