These gnomons appear to have more than a passing connection with the Fibonacci sequence. This problem ask you to investigate some of these connections.
Can you find sets of sloping lines that enclose a square?
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
To avoid losing think of another very well known game where the patterns of play are similar.
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.
A game for 2 players with similarities to NIM. Place one counter on each spot on the games board. Players take it is turns to remove 1 or 2 adjacent counters. The winner picks up the last counter.
Can you find a general rule for finding the areas of equilateral triangles drawn on an isometric grid?
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.
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.
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. . . .
This task encourages you to investigate the number of edging pieces and panes in different sized windows.
Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
A game for 2 players
A collection of games on the NIM theme
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written different fractions.
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of moves.
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
It starts quite simple but great opportunities for number discoveries and patterns!
Dave Hewitt suggests that there might be more to mathematics than looking at numerical results, finding patterns and generalising.
Build gnomons that are related to the Fibonacci sequence and try to explain why this is possible.
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?
Charlie likes tablecloths that use as many colours as possible, but insists that his tablecloths have some symmetry. Can you work out how many colours he needs for different tablecloth designs?
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. . . .
Jo made a cube from some smaller cubes, painted some of the faces of the large cube, and then took it apart again. 45 small cubes had no paint on them at all. How many small cubes did Jo use?
The triangle OMN has vertices on the axes with whole number co-ordinates. How many points with whole number coordinates are there on the hypotenuse MN?
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.
A game for two people, or play online. Given a target number, say 23, and a range of numbers to choose from, say 1-4, players take it in turns to add to the running total to hit their target.
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
Make some loops out of regular hexagons. What rules can you discover?
What is the total number of squares that can be made on a 5 by 5 geoboard?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
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.
How many moves does it take to swap over some red and blue frogs? Do you have a method?
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
Can you figure out how sequences of beach huts are generated?
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
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. . . .
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?”
The Tower of Hanoi is an ancient mathematical challenge. Working on the building blocks may help you to explain the patterns you notice.
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. . . .
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Charlie has made a Magic V. Can you use his example to make some more? And how about Magic Ls, Ns and Ws?
Can you explain the strategy for winning this game with any target?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?