Arithmetic

Prime Factorization of a Number (Advanced)

Last time we looked at basic methods for finding the prime factorization of a number. Here we will look at some special techniques for large numbers, demonstrating them for not-too-large numbers. This takes us a step beyond previous tests that told us whether a number was composite, without actually factoring them.

Prime Factorization of a Number (Basics)

I’ll close this series on prime numbers by looking at how to find the prime factorization of a number, starting with the most basic ideas applicable to relatively small numbers, and then (next week) looking at some advanced methods for larger numbers.

Prime Numbers: Making a List

We’ve looked at what prime numbers are, and how the concept extends (or doesn’t) to 0, 1, and negative integers. The next question many students have is, how can I make a list of prime numbers (or write a computer program to do so)? We’ll learn about the Sieve of Eratosthenes, and list all the …

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Prime Numbers: What About Negatives?

We’ve looked at the basic idea of primes, then at where 0 and 1 fit in. But what about negative integers? Can they be prime? If so, how does that affect the definition? And can you factorize a negative number if you don’t have negative primes?

Prime Numbers: What About 0 and 1?

Last week we looked at the definitions of prime and composite numbers, and saw that 1 is neither. The same is true of 0. What, then, are they? That raises some deep questions that we’ll look at here.

Prime Numbers: What and Why

I’ll begin a short series of posts on prime numbers with several questions on the basics: What are prime (and composite) numbers, and why do they matter?

An Age Proportion Problem: Multiple Methods

(A new question of the week) Some problems can be done either by algebra or by basic arithmetic methods and some creativity; and although algebra generally makes work easier by making it routine, sometimes special-purpose thinking (once you have thought it!) can be quicker. Here we have a problem where a creative method didn’t quite …

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Abraham Lincoln and the Rule of Three

For the last two weeks, we have examined new and old ways to think about proportions. This time, we’ll look at an old method called the Rule of Three (both “single” and “double”), and how you might have learned to solve these problems 200 years ago without algebra. Be prepared for a deep dive!