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 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?”
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. . . .
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?
What is the total number of squares that can be made on a 5 by 5 geoboard?
Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?
Pick a square within a multiplication square and add the numbers on each diagonal. What do you notice?
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.
Many numbers can be expressed as the difference of two perfect squares. What do you notice about the numbers you CANNOT make?
Make some loops out of regular hexagons. What rules can you discover?
A three digit number abc is always divisible by 7 when 2a+3b+c is divisible by 7. Why?
Triangle ABC is an equilateral triangle with three parallel lines going through the vertices. Calculate the length of the sides of the triangle if the perpendicular distances between the parallel. . . .
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 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 for. . . .
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.
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges?
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?
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?
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. . . .
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 show that you can share a square pizza equally between two people by cutting it four times using vertical, horizontal and diagonal cuts through any point inside the square?
The diagram illustrates the formula: 1 + 3 + 5 + ... + (2n - 1) = nĀ² Use the diagram to show that any odd number is the difference of two squares.
When number pyramids have a sequence on the bottom layer, some interesting patterns emerge...
What would you get if you continued this sequence of fraction sums? 1/2 + 2/1 = 2/3 + 3/2 = 3/4 + 4/3 =
What is the volume of the solid formed by rotating this right angled triangle about the hypotenuse?
Imagine we have four bags containing numbers from a sequence. What numbers can we make now?
Can you dissect a square into: 4, 7, 10, 13... other squares? 6, 9, 12, 15... other squares? 8, 11, 14... other squares?
Imagine an infinitely large sheet of square dotty paper on which you can draw triangles of any size you wish (providing each vertex is on a dot). What areas is it/is it not possible to draw?
How many pairs of numbers can you find that add up to a multiple of 11? Do you notice anything interesting about your results?
Imagine starting with one yellow cube and covering it all over with a single layer of red cubes, and then covering that cube with a layer of blue cubes. How many red and blue cubes would you need?
Some students have been working out the number of strands needed for different sizes of cable. Can you make sense of their solutions?
Rectangles are considered different if they vary in size or have different locations. How many different rectangles can be drawn on a chessboard?
Can you find the values at the vertices when you know the values on the edges of these multiplication arithmagons?
Polygons drawn on square dotty paper have dots on their perimeter (p) and often internal (i) ones as well. Find a relationship between p, i and the area of the polygons.
Can you use the diagram to prove the AM-GM inequality?
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?
How could Penny, Tom and Matthew work out how many chocolates there are in different sized boxes?
It's easy to work out the areas of most squares that we meet, but what if they were tilted?
Can you explain the surprising results Jo found when she calculated the difference between square numbers?
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
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.
Can you find an efficient method to work out how many handshakes there would be if hundreds of people met?
What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?
Imagine a large cube made from small red cubes being dropped into a pot of yellow paint. How many of the small cubes will have yellow paint on their faces?
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.
Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?
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 collection of games on the NIM theme
A country has decided to have just two different coins, 3z and 5z coins. Which totals can be made? Is there a largest total that cannot be made? How do you know?
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?