Generalising - May 2004, All Stages

Problems

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Break it Up!

Age 5 to 11 Challenge Level:

In how many different ways can you break up a stick of 7 interlocking cubes? Now try with a stick of 8 cubes and a stick of 6 cubes.

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Number Tracks

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Ben’s class were cutting up number tracks. First they cut them into twos and added up the numbers on each piece. What patterns could they see?

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Up and Down Staircases

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

One block is needed to make an up-and-down staircase, with one step up and one step down. How many blocks would be needed to build an up-and-down staircase with 5 steps up and 5 steps down?

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Odd Squares

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

Think of a number, square it and subtract your starting number. Is the number you’re left with odd or even? How do the images help to explain this?

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Number Pyramids

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Try entering different sets of numbers in the number pyramids. How does the total at the top change?

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Picturing Triangular Numbers

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Triangular numbers can be represented by a triangular array of squares. What do you notice about the sum of identical triangle numbers?

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Your Number Is...

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Think of a number... follow the machine's instructions. I know what your number is! Can you explain how I know?

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Shear Magic

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

What are the areas of these triangles? What do you notice? Can you generalise to other "families" of triangles?

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Pair Products

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Choose four consecutive whole numbers. Multiply the first and last numbers together. Multiply the middle pair together. What do you notice?

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Three Frogs

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Three frogs started jumping randomly over any adjacent frog. Is it possible for them to finish up in the same order they started?

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Pencil Turning

Age 14 to 16 Short Challenge Level:

Weekly Problem 37 - 2011
Rotating a pencil twice about two different points gives surprising results...

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Perfectly Square

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

The sums of the squares of three related numbers is also a perfect square - can you explain why?

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Squirty

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Using a ruler, pencil and compasses only, it is possible to construct a square inside any triangle so that all four vertices touch the sides of the triangle.

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Generally Geometric

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

Generalise the sum of a GP by using derivatives to make the coefficients into powers of the natural numbers.

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Golden Fibs

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:

When is a Fibonacci sequence also a geometric sequence? When the ratio of successive terms is the golden ratio!

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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?