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The second part of the Four Fours

The Back Story
The four fours is a rather famous little puzzle which goes something like this:
Using exactly four of the number 4 each time, write calculations using +, -, *, / that produce each of the natural numbers from 0 to 20.
It’s a classic puzzle that requires some creativity and also gets people thinking about […]

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The Seven Sticks and what mathematics is

This week I provided games and puzzles at a welcome lunch for new students in the Mathematical Sciences degree programs. I had big logic puzzles and maths toys and also a list of some of my eight most favourite puzzles on tables with paper tablecloths to write on.
One of the puzzles is the Seven Sticks […]

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The Number Dress-Up Party

I created the Number Dress-Up Party puzzle way back in 2017 and every so often I stumble across it again when searching Twitter for other stuff. When I stumbled across it today, I decided it was time to write it up in a blog post.
The puzzle goes like this:
The Number Dress-Up Party
All the numbers have […]

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Numbers and Letters

Since 2013, the MLC and Writing Centre have been doing a game called Letters and Numbers at Orientation Weeks and Open Days to create interaction with people. I tweeted a photo of one of our sessions during Open Day yesterday and it has attracted a lot of attention, so I thought I might record some […]

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An opening gambit for the Numbers game

It was O’Week a couple of weeks ago, when new students arrive on campus to find out how uni works and the services they have access to. Our tradition for the last several years is to play Numbers and Letters on a big whiteboard out in public as a way to engage with students.
In case […]

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Panda Squares

This post is about a puzzle I’ve been tweeting about for the last couple of days. I got it originally from a book I was given back in the 1980’s called “Ivan Moscovich’s Super Games”. In the book, Ivan calls this puzzle “Bits”, but I don’t think that’s nearly descriptive or cute enough, so I […]

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Four alternatives to the four fours

The “Four Fours” is a very well-known little problem that encourages some creative thinking and use of the order of operations. It goes like this:
Using exactly four of the number 4, any of the operations +, -, *, / and as many brackets as you like, see if you can produce all the natural numbers […]

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Spotless dice

Upon Amie and Cathy‘s request, I am writing a blog post about a problem we worked on at One Hundred Factorial recently. In fact, in order to do so I am creating a whole new category for the blog called One Hundred Factorial, so I can talk about the things that happen there. (Just so […]

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Quarter the Cross

At the end of last year, the MTBoS (Math(s) Twitter Blog-o-Sphere) introduced me to this very interesting task: you have a cross made of four equal squares, and you are supposed to colour in exactly 1/4 of the cross and justify why you know it’s a quarter. I call it “Quarter the Cross”.

(The teachers who […]

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The Sausage-Stacking Theorem

It’s no secret that the powers of two are some of my favourite numbers. There are so many interesting things to say about them that often I don’t know where to begin! (In case you’re not au fait with the terminology, the powers of two are the numbers you can make by starting with 1 […]

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