**InterMath | Workshop Support | Write Up
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** Title**Alpha Numeric

O, T, T, F, F, S, S, E, ____

(Source: Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, Nov-Dec 1997).

** Plans to
Solve/Investigate the Problem**I
plan to use the existing numbers to see if there is a pattern or sequence or
how they relate to each other in various ways (ex. Distance from each other when the alphabet is
written out, letter repetitions).

** Investigation/Exploration
of the Problem**My
first thought was that the answer might be the letter “E” because there was a
series of repeated letters and one “E” was already in place. I was then told that the answer was not “E”. Then I tried to see how many letters apart
each letter was from the others to look for patterns such as the same number of
letters between letters or a sequential increase in numbers (ex. The first letter could be three spaces from the
second and then there could be six letter spaces between the second and the
third, indicating a doubling of the non visible letters if you replaced them
with number values according to the alphabet sequence.) Other additive and multiplicative patterns
were considered. We had been told to
think “outside the box” and to take the title into great consideration. It was frustrating to finally look at the
numbers, 1, 2, 3, and so on, and see that each number correlates with the
letter given in the number by using the first letter of each number (ex. 1 =

The process could go on forever and it’s hard to say whether or not it
would be easier to determine the answer with a longer list of letters.

Extensions of the Problem

Kevin Smith

Link 1

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