Reader Reflections: April 2005

Ramakrishnan Menon describes several interesting tricks that use mathematics in his article “Motivating Activities That Lead to Algebra” (August 2004, pp. 26–31). I learned from S. Brent Morris a grand finale to Menon's “Fibonacci Sequence” activity that astonishes most students. Before generating a ten–number Fibonacci sequence and doing the trick, I print the number 1.61 in a large font on a sheet of paper, place it in a sealed envelope, and ask for a volunteer to hold onto the envelope. Once I have amazed the students by adding the ten numbers faster than they can add them on their calculators (by multiplying the seventh number by 11, as Menon describes), I ask a student to divide the tenth number by the ninth on a calculator and read the first three digits of the answer, which will always be 1.61. I then ask the volunteer to open the envelope and show everyone the results.

The Mathematics Teacher

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