Sunday, May 10, 2015

[AM_20150510PLRF27] Looking for a Polynomial's Missing Link


     The first part of this question is rather standard.  The second part is quite challenging, especially if you are trying to connect with the earlier part.

     To solve polynomial equations of degree  3  or higher (that are tested in school tests and exams), we often need to guess a rational (fraction or integer) root.  By the way, whole numbers are rational numbers because we can always put them into fractions upon  1  as denominator.  So how do we guess the roots?  The following is a very important theorem that guides us as to what numbers to try.

So we consider all the possible factors of the constant term  a0  for the numerator and
all the possible factors of the coefficient  an  of the highest power for the denominator and consider the + and the – of all the possible fractions formed.  Usually, we try those with denominator 1 i.e. the integers first.


     Note that the solution consists of only the part in blue.  Black is used for explanations, which are lengthy because of the dense interplay of ideas and subtleties involved.
     For the second part, if you are not able to see the connection, then use the standard method to solve the equation.  Here we realise that when the  x  is replaced by  v/2,  the coefficients are reduced to the original coefficients.  However, these are in reverse order.  This indicates that one needs to use the reciprocal, so you divide throughout by  v3,  so that the highest power becomes just a constant.  I know you would not have thought of this if you have not seen this kind of question before, but this is the trick to use.
     Do not be discouraged by difficult question.  Have a growth mindset.  Every time you encounter a difficult question, learn how the trick ticks.  Your brain muscles will get stronger.  Try to apply the same trick when you see a similar question next time.

H04. Look for pattern(s)
H05. Work backwards
H09. Restate the problem in another way
H10. Simplify the problem
H11. Solve part of the problem
H13* Use Equation / write a Mathematical Sentence

Suitable Levels
GCE ‘O’ Level Additional Mathematics
GCE ‘A’ Level H2 Mathematics (revision)
IB Mathematics (revision)
* other syllabuses that involve polynomials, Remainder and Factor Theorem

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