Angles in a Star

(A new question of the week) I like problems that can be solved in multiple ways, which can train us in seeing the world from different perspectives. Late in November we dealt with a pair of such questions involving angles in star-like figures.

Inductive Proofs: More Examples

Last week we looked at examples of induction proofs: some sums of series and a couple divisibility proofs. This time, I want to do a couple inequality proofs, and a couple more series, in part to show more of the variety of ways the details of an inductive proof can be handled.

Inductive Proofs: Four Examples

Last week we looked at introductory explanations of what mathematical induction is, including answers to some misunderstandings of the concept. But we only looked at one trivial example of such a proof; for a real understanding of the technique, we need some fuller examples. For that purpose, I have chosen a few questions we have …

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Two Inside-Out Limit Problems

(A new question of the week) Limits can be challenging. They can be even more challenging when they require L’Hôpital’s rule or more advanced methods (Maclaurin series), and then are turned inside-out by asking not for the limit itself, but for parameters that will result in a specified limit, or what values of the limit …

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What is Mathematical Induction?

Last week’s exploration of a problem involving the Fibonacci sequence, has led me to delve into that and related concepts. In order to say much about the Fibonacci numbers, we have to first explore the concept of proof by mathematical induction. We’ll introduce it here, and then dig deeper next time.

Disappearing Area?

We’ve been looking at dissection puzzles, where we cut an object into pieces, and rearrange them. Here we’ll examine a mystery posed by two different puzzles, each of which seems to change the area by rearranging the pieces. The answer combines the marvelous Fibonacci numbers and [spoiler alert!] how easily we misjudge areas.

A Geometrical Limit

(A new question of the week) We usually see limits applied to functions in a calculus class. An interesting question from late October deals with a limit in a geometrical construction based on a function. We’ll be seeing how to discover a proof, then several alternative proofs, and finally what the answer means.