Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Ariel, a student:

Please explain to me why -32 is a -9. One calculator give me an answer of positive 9.

WhAT IS THE NEXT TERM IN Each sequence/ What is its term number?

1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6 6/7

1, 1/4, 1/9, 1/16


-3^2 = -9 : Take a look at for the explanation.

1/2, 2/3, 3/4, etc. I assume you see the pattern. The "term number" is the number of the term in the sequence. The first term is 1/2, so the term number of 1/2 is 1. The second term is 2/3 so the term number is 2 (because it is the second in the sequence).

It might help you a lot if I rewrote the second sequence in an equal but more revealing way:
1, 1/4, 1/9, 1/16, etc. is the same as
1/(12), 1/(22), 1/(32), 1/(42), etc.

Hope this helps,
Stephen La Rocque.

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