Resources tagged with: Mathematical reasoning & proof

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Broad Topics > Mathematical Thinking > Mathematical reasoning & proof

Cube Net

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

How many tours visit each vertex of a cube once and only once? How many return to the starting point?

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.

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.

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. . . .

Geometry and Gravity 2

Age 11 to 18

This is the second of two articles and discusses problems relating to the curvature of space, shortest distances on surfaces, triangulations of surfaces and representation by graphs.

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. . . .

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

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. . . .

Tree Graphs

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

A connected graph is a graph in which we can get from any vertex to any other by travelling along the edges. A tree is a connected graph with no closed circuits (or loops. Prove that every tree has. . . .

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.

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?

Doodles

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Draw a 'doodle' - a closed intersecting curve drawn without taking pencil from paper. What can you prove about the intersections?

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?

Exhaustion

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Find the positive integer solutions of the equation (1+1/a)(1+1/b)(1+1/c) = 2

Look Before You Leap

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Relate these algebraic expressions to geometrical diagrams.

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. . . .

Magic Squares II

Age 14 to 18

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

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?

Ordered Sums

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Let a(n) be the number of ways of expressing the integer n as an ordered sum of 1's and 2's. Let b(n) be the number of ways of expressing n as an ordered sum of integers greater than 1. (i) Calculate. . . .

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 of Pick's Theorem

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Follow the hints and prove Pick's Theorem.

Proofs with Pictures

Age 14 to 18

Some diagrammatic 'proofs' of algebraic identities and inequalities.

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. . . .

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.

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.

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.

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.

Iffy Logic

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

Converse

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

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?

Contrary Logic

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Can you invert the logic to prove these statements?

Dodgy Proofs

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

These proofs are wrong. Can you see why?

Binomial Coefficients

Age 14 to 18

An introduction to the binomial coefficient, and exploration of some of the formulae it satisfies.

Middle Man

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Mark a point P inside a closed curve. Is it always possible to find two points that lie on the curve, such that P is the mid point of the line joining these two points?

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!

More Number Sandwiches

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

When is it impossible to make number sandwiches?

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.

Calculating with Cosines

Age 14 to 18 Challenge Level:

If I tell you two sides of a right-angled triangle, you can easily work out the third. But what if the angle between the two sides is not a right angle?

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.

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?

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?

Flexi Quad Tan

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

As a quadrilateral Q is deformed (keeping the edge lengths constnt) the diagonals and the angle X between them change. Prove that the area of Q is proportional to tanX.

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.

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?

A Knight's Journey

Age 14 to 18

This article looks at knight's moves on a chess board and introduces you to the idea of vectors and vector addition.

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?

L-triominoes

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

L triominoes can fit together to make larger versions of themselves. Is every size possible to make in this way?

Areas and Ratios

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

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

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?