Tagged ‘Study group’

Pool Table Math with Excel (includes a Video)

This is a classic problem solving activity that I first saw many years ago in Mathematics: A Human Endeavor.   The NCTM has a nice applet to test cases one at a time.  

Since I like playing with Excel and trying to extend what it can do, I wrote a spreadsheet to represent the problem.  The end result is much better than expected — this representation uses a slider to show many cases in a short period of time, and with it I noticed patterns that I never had before (e.g. if you start at (1,0) on a rectangle whose sides have GCD=2, you get a loop that goes through all squares). Read more >>

The Biggest Product

I start this activity by handing out buckets of tiles (any small objects will do) and asking students to take 10. They can sort their ten tiles into any number of piles, and their “prize” is the product of the sizes of their piles — so if they sort them into piles of size 5 and 5; their prize is 5 x 5, and if they sort into piles of sizes 1, 2, 3, and 4, their prize is 1 x 2 x 3 x 4. The goal, of course, is to get the highest possible prize, and then to generalize for other numbers of tiles. Read more >>