I added together some of my neighbours' house numbers. Can you explain the patterns I noticed?
15 = 7 + 8 and 10 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4. Can you say which numbers can be expressed as the sum of two or more consecutive integers?
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
Make some loops out of regular hexagons. What rules can you discover?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
Pick the number of times a week that you eat chocolate. This number must be more than one but less than ten. Multiply this number by 2. Add 5 (for Sunday). Multiply by 50... Can you explain why it. . . .
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
Think of a number, add one, double it, take away 3, add the number you first thought of, add 7, divide by 3 and take away the number you first thought of. You should now be left with 2. How do I. . . .
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. . . .
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
List any 3 numbers. It is always possible to find a subset of adjacent numbers that add up to a multiple of 3. Can you explain why and prove it?
Choose any 3 digits and make a 6 digit number by repeating the 3 digits in the same order (e.g. 594594). Explain why whatever digits you choose the number will always be divisible by 7, 11 and 13.
Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated the difference between square numbers?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single pile. The loser is the player who takes the last counter.
Take any two positive numbers. Calculate the arithmetic and geometric means. Repeat the calculations to generate a sequence of arithmetic means and geometric means. Make a note of what happens to the. . . .
We can show that (x + 1)² = x² + 2x + 1 by considering the area of an (x + 1) by (x + 1) square. Show in a similar way that (x + 2)² = x² + 4x + 4
Take a look at the multiplication square. The first eleven triangle numbers have been identified. Can you see a pattern? Does the pattern continue?
Consider all two digit numbers (10, 11, . . . ,99). In writing down all these numbers, which digits occur least often, and which occur most often ? What about three digit numbers, four digit numbers. . . .
The NRICH team are always looking for new ways to engage teachers and pupils in problem solving. Here we explain the thinking behind maths trails.
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?
Find some examples of pairs of numbers such that their sum is a factor of their product. eg. 4 + 12 = 16 and 4 × 12 = 48 and 16 is a factor of 48.
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
Sets of integers like 3, 4, 5 are called Pythagorean Triples, because they could be the lengths of the sides of a right-angled triangle. Can you find any more?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
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?
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.
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. . . .
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Jo has three numbers which she adds together in pairs. When she does this she has three different totals: 11, 17 and 22 What are the three numbers Jo had to start with?”
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
A collection of games on the NIM theme
First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to eat chocolate. Multiply this number by 2...
Do you notice anything about the solutions when you add and/or subtract consecutive negative numbers?
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?
Four bags contain a large number of 1s, 3s, 5s and 7s. Pick any ten numbers from the bags above so that their total is 37.
The sum of the numbers 4 and 1 [1/3] is the same as the product of 4 and 1 [1/3]; that is to say 4 + 1 [1/3] = 4 � 1 [1/3]. What other numbers have the sum equal to the product and can this be so. . . .
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to develop the skills of strategic planning.
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?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
A game for 2 players
A game for 2 players. Set out 16 counters in rows of 1,3,5 and 7. Players take turns to remove any number of counters from a row. The player left with the last counter looses.
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?