Saturday, December 26, 2015

[S1_20151226NPSW] Finding the General Term of a Sequence (2)


     The above was discussed in this previous article.  The earlier parts of the problem are easy.  The major sticking point is finding the formula for  Sn.  We solved that using factorisation and observation, which I feel is the best way.  But what if you cannot do that and you are desperate (for example, in an exam or test)?
     This article introduces Newton’s Method, which can be used as a back-up method, even though it is not in the regular syllabus.

Solution (Newton’s Method)

     Note that number sequences in “IQ tests” (with no problem contexts) have been debunked.  In our case here, the numbers do have a certain regularity arising from the pattern of dots.  In fact this is an arithmetic progression.  What we are calculating is the sum of an arithmetic progression.  However, Newton’s Method extends beyond arithmetic progressions.

Suitable Levels
Lower School Mathematics
GCE ‘O’ Level “Elementary” Mathematics (revision)
GCE ‘A’ Levels H2 Mathematics (revision)
* other syllabuses that involve number patterns and sequences
* any precocious or independent learner who is interested

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