Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from sue:

This is for my 10 year old nephew. His math question is: he has a 4X 4 magic square. The top squares are from left to right: 359,356,353,366. He says that columns are supposed to equal 796. We can't figure it out and would really appreciate any help we could get.

Hi Sue,

If you subtract 350 from each element of the magic square you have I think you will find you have a magic square composed of the integers from 1 to 16. The sum of each row, column and diagonal being 34. If you add 190 to each entry in this magic square you will obtain a magic square with the row, column, diagonal sum being 4 × 190 + 34 = 794. Off by 2. Can you see how to add 2 to 4 of the entries in this magic square to give one with the sums being 796?


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