Topic: Number Theory

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Liar’s Bingo

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From recognizing a pattern to generating terms, to abstracting and making inferences, tasks based on patterns embody the “low-threshold, high-ceiling” trait of good problems. Liar’s Bingo is all about patterns. This session involves recognizing patterns and searching for underlying structure, number theory, numeration, and potentially binary arithmetic. Sometimes, as in...

Lockers: An Open-and-Shut Case

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A classic Math Circle problem! At a large high school, there are 10000 lockers. The lockers are numbered, in order, 1, 2, 3, . . . , 10000, and to start, each locker is closed. There are also 10000 students, also numbered 1, 2, 3, . . . , 10000....

Mathematical Magic for Muggles

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Presented are several easy-to-perform feats that suggest supernatural powers such as telepathy, “seeing fingers,” predicting the future, photographic memory, etc. Each trick uses simple mathematical ideas that allow information to flow effortlessly and sneakily, among them simple, efficient “coding” parity and other invariants symmetry probability One can approach these activities...

One, Two, Three, Four: Building Numbers with Four Operations

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What numbers can you make with 1, 2, 3, and 4, using the operations of addition, subtraction, and multiplication? Work on these problems builds arithmetic fluency and provides opportunities to identify patterns, develop and defend arguments, and create conjectures. This investigation also highlights how thin the boundary is between a...

Piece of Cake; Delectable Fractions and Decimals

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While exploring the relationship between fractions and decimals, participants will have the opportunity to practice operations with fractions, notice and explain patterns, review understandings of place value and number sense, and justify their reasoning. You can get a taste of math research by repeating these two steps: Think about an...

Place Value Problems

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In this session, we’ll learn how to solve problems related to place value. This is one of the fundamental concepts in arithmetic, something every elementary and middle school mathematics teacher should understand profoundly. Several example puzzles are followed by a rich selection of over 30 additional problems to explore. This...

Primes!

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Mathematicians have long been fascinated by prime numbers and a great deal of number theory revolves around the study of primes. Develop a deeper understanding of these intriguing numbers by exploring the questions presented in this session.

Primes, Divisibility, and Modular Arithmetic

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Number theory is all about adding and multiplying integers: pretty simple stuff, good for elementary school or for PhD mathematicians. Dr. Arnold Ross says of number theory, that the purpose is “to think deeply of simple things.” So let’s do that together. This session includes multiple problem sets beginning with...