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Maths Problem of the Week

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Solution to follow …



Is this Quadrilateral a Parallelgram?

The diagram show the quadrilateral ABCD (not to scale). Is it a parallelgram?


Given that

A=3x2-5x, B=x2-x, C=30x+50 and D=11x+20


Solution to follow …



What is 44100 ?

Given that 4410=2×32×5×72,

Tip: you don't need a calculator.


Solution to follow ...

This is a problem about factors and noticing that


So ...





Was I Late?

Each work day, before COVID-19, the probability of my leaving before 0800 was 0.25. Leaving after 0830 had a probability of 0.10

The probability of arriving late for a tutoral was dependent on my time of leaving home.

These probabilities are given in the following table:

Time I left my house Before
0800 - 0830
Probability of being late 0.01 0.09 0.9

I tutored 220 days in 2018. How many times was I late?


Solution to follow …

The solution is this is best found via a tree diagram.

0.25 0.65 0.1 Leave before 8 .. between 8:00 and 08:30 .. after 08:30 0.01 0.99 0.09 0.91 0.90 0.10 to be continued. see notes on 16/01/2021



Don't Panic!
Quadratics and Circle Theorems

Find the value of x

2x + 5 3 1 x



Using the intersecting chords theorem states


where A, B, C and D are the point where the chords meet the circle and X is where the chords cross.
From the diagram this simplifies to








Giving x=12 or x=-3.

However, the context implies than x>0,

so, x=12.



The New Year Problem

Find x.




An easy one to see the new year in with.
The first term, (2019)0=1 as any number raised to the zeroth power is one (if it's not zero), and
the second term, (2020)1=2020 as any number raised to the power of one is that number.
So, the first two terms sum to (2019)0+(2020)1=1+2020=2021

Now our equation simplifies to 2021-(2021)x=0,
and further to (2021)x=2021

Hence, x=1.



Here's a Festive Message, but wait! It's Encrypted?




Decoding encrypted messages is part mathematics and part investigation.
There is a clue in the title of this problem: Festive.
This might inspire us to make a good guess as to the meaning of the message.
Continuing the investigation, we might conclude that this message contains seven words and that the forth is either an A or an I. These being the commonest single letter words.
There are two three letter words. However, that doesn't narrow it down too much as there are 17576 (263)combinations of three letters.
This however coupled with the idea that V is either A or I, we might conclude that VIY is AND.

Let's now see if we can make sense of this with some mathematics.
So far, we have:


Look at IN we've moved five letters on from I to get N.
So let's try this idea with V. By moving five letters on from V we go one beyond the end of the alphabet.
By thinking of the alphabet as a continuous line of alphabets, one after the other, the next letter would be A which is correct.
So, it seems that we move five letters up the alphabet to get the real letter. If we drop of the end of the alphabet, we just wrap around to the beginning again.

Now we have a method (an algorithm) that we think might work, what does it decode the message to?


Definitely a festive message.

Here's the full decoding algorithm.

Encrypted Message Character V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U α
Maps to ...
Real Message Character A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z β=α+5

The last column is the algorithm that gives the entire algorithm in one easy equation. In this case it is extremely easy and so not difficult to break.
In general, the more complex this algorithm is the more difficult it is to break the code,
but we must be careful not to make the algorithm too complex or it'll be too time consuming to for the intended reader to get the message.
Coding is also easy as it's the inverse action of the decoding algorithm.
Have some fun making your own code or see encryption to learn more.



How well did Jean do?

Jean's mean score is 22% less than her score in biology,
her biology score was 10% higher than her chemistry,
her English was the same as her mathematics result,
and physics was half the mathematics score and 30% points lower than the mean.

What was Jean's score in each subject and her mean score?



Let's work each statement in the question one after the other.

"Jean's mean score is 22% less than her score in biology" implies


where M is her mean score and b is her score in biology.

"her biology score was 10% higher than her chemistry" implies


where c is her chemistry score.

"her English was the same as her mathematics result" implies


where e is english and m is maths.

"and physics was half the mathematics score and 30% points lower than the mean" gived us two mathematical statements

p=m2 and p=M-30,

where p is her physics score.

Now, let's consider the mean score ...

To be continued...



Sketching a Hill

Sketch the curve


Find all the intersections and the co-ordinates of the vertex.


Solution to follow …



Ratios within Ratios

If the ratio a:b is 2:5 and the ratio b:c is 3:10. What is the ratio a:c?



The b part of each ratio has a LCM of 15. Multiplying each ratio so that the b part is 15, we get 6:15 for the ratio a:b and 15:50 for the ratio b:c. So, the ratio a:c is 6:50.




In how many ways can 16 rupees be divided among beggars so that no beggar receives less than any other?



The question doesn't say how many of the poor we are helping, so we could be giving 16 rupees to one beggar, i.e., 16 rupees x 1 beggar.
There might be two beggars, so 8 rupees x 2 beggars.

This is looking like a factors question.
The factors of 16 are 1,2,4,8,16.

So, the possibilities are:

16 rupees x 1 beggar;
8 rupees x 2 beggars;
4 rupees x 4 beggars;
2 rupees x 8 beggars;
1 rupee x 16 beggars.

So there are five ways we could divide the rupees.



Is it a tangent to the circle?

Show that the straight line with equation 4x+3y=25 is a tangent to the circle with equation x2+y2=25.



There are two ways in which a circle and a line might intersect.
They might also not intersect at all. A circle and a line might intersect once or twice.
A singular intersection can only occur if the line is a tangent, so for this problem we need only show that there is one intersection.
The equation for the line can be re-written as


Substituting this for y in the equation of the circle,


Squaring out the bracket and multiplying by nine,





Using the determinant on this quadratic,


This shows there is only one intersection, so the line is a tangent to the circle.



All you need to know is three things about a triangle: part II (it turns out to be untrue)

Triangle ABC has lengths AB=10 cm, BC=6 cm and ∠BAC=30°. Find the possible areas of this triangle.


Solution to follow ...







Let x=0.9.=0.999…

then 10x=9.999…






All you need to know is three things about a triangle - part I?

A triangle has two angles of 60° and 90°, and an area of 10cm².
What is the perimeter?

Solution to follow ...


A species of plant can have one to five flowers. The probability of each number of flowers is given by:

Number of Flowers 1 2 3 4 5
Probability 0.12 0.24 0.23 0.20 ?

Peter plants 96. How many of Peter's plants will have three, or more, flowers?



Firstly, our table is missing the probability for five flowers. This can be found by knowing that the probabilities of all the outcomes sum to one.

0.12+0.24+0.23+0.20+P(5 flowers)=1

P(5 flowers)=1-0.79
P(5 flowers)=0.21

The question asks for the number of plants with three, or more, flowers, i.e., the number of planted times the probability of three or more flowers,


where N is the number planted and n is the number of flowers.

N=96 from the question;




So, the number of plants with three, or more, flowers is 96×0.64=61.44

This is a rather unusual count for the number of plants, because this is the mathematical answer. We now have to think of this number in the context of the problem. Rounding to the nearest integer we get 61.



What is the smallest number of beans?

A bag contains some red, some yellow and some blue beans.
The probability of picking a red bean at random is 0.2.
It is known that the ratio of yellow to blue beans is 5:7.



From the questions we know P(colour=red)=0.2,
but we also know that P(colour=red)=rn,
where r is the number of red beans and n is the total number of beans.
So r=n5 (1).

We also know that r+y+b=n (2),
where y is the number of yellow beads and b is the number of blues.

From the ratio given yb=57,

so y=5b7 (3).

Substituting equations (1) and (3) into (2) we get n5+5b7+b=n.

b=7n15 (4),

and y=n3 (5).

Using (1), (4) and (5) to create a ratio,



So, the smallest number of beans is 3+5+7=15.



Time to Fill a Pool

The pool can be filled by a big pump in 5 hours and by a small pump on 20 hours.
How long will both pumps take to fill the pool?



This is a question about rates.
In this case the volume of water pumped pre hour.
For the big pump this is V5 and V20 for the little pump, where V is the volume of the pool.
If both pumps are used together, then these rates are added to give the rate at which the pool is filled, i.e.,


where t is the time to fill the pool with both pumps.

The V's cancel,






Is this answer reasonable?

Well, it took 5 hours to fill with the big pump, so if we add another no matter how slow it is it'll help fill the pool quicker.
Our calculated time is quicker, so we should be happy with that.



Electronic Gadgets Everywhere

In a class of 24 students, 22 have a mobile phone and 10 have a portable DVD player. One student has neither.

How many students have:
a) a mobile phone only;
b) a portable DVD player only;
c) both?



From the numbers of students given in the question we can see that some students definitely have more than one device; 23 students own devices and there 32 devices. Therefore, nine must own both types of device (that answers part c), 13 must own only a mobile phone (part a) and one has just a DVD player (part b).

Notice in this question I didn't answer the questions in order. Perfectly valid and sometimes a good technique to overcome difficulties with a question.



Find the next three terms in this sequence

14, 24, 36, 50, 66, ..., ..., ...,



As with any sequence we are given first let's look to see if it is not one we know. It's not one I know, so let's find the first difference between adjacent terms.

n 1 2 3 4 5
nth term
14 24 36 50 66
First difference
10 12 14 16

This first difference is an arithmetic sequence with a common difference of 2, which enables us to work out the next three first differences:

n 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
nth term
14 24 36 50 66 ? ? ?
First difference
10 12 14 16 18 20 22

Adding these first differences in term to the previous term in the sequence we get:

n 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
nth term
14 24 36 50 66 84 104 126
First difference
10 12 14 16 18 20 22

So the sequence is 14, 24, 36, 50, 66, 84, 104, 126,…

We can go further and find any term in the sequence. The first difference is an arithmetic sequence with a common difference of 2, implying that the original sequence is a quadratic sequence of the form Un=an2+bn+c, where a is the common difference divided by 2, ∴ a=1.

n 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
nth term
14 24 36 50 66 84 104 126
First difference
10 12 14 16 18 20 22
an2 1 4 9 16 25 36 49 64
Un-an2 13 20 27 34 41 48 55 62

But Un-an2=bn+c, so the last line is an arithmetic sequence with common difference b=7 and zeroth term c=6. Therefore, the nth term of the sequence is given by Un=n2+7n+6.



Find ∠ABC

A B C D O 115°

A, C and D are point on a circle centred O;
AB and CB are tangents to the circle;
AD and CD are chords in the circle;


Solution to follow …



Solve Simultaneously





The equations imply that x,y>0.
Both equations have integers of the RHS
implying x,y,x,y are elements of the integers
moreover x,y are perfect squares
so 0<x<7 and 0<y<11.
So x{1,4} and y{1,4,9}.
Therefore x=4 and y=9
Are there any other solutions?



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