Algebra Patterns - Add add subtract
Let's re-state the challenge.
What is the value of the following expression where all the whole numbers
1 through 99 are included and the repeated operations are add, add, subtract?
0 + 1 + 2 – 3 + 4 + 5 – 6 + 7 + 8 – 9 + . . . + 97 + 98 – 99
I chose this investigation because I thought it would be a nice introduction to doing write-ups.
When I began this investigation I wanted to write a formula to recognize the pattern. I tried using consecutive numbers, but found that did not solve the problem. I went to a spreadsheet and originally tried to enter a new formula on each line hoping that the spreadsheet might recognize the repeating pattern or some magic formula would appear. This was unsuccessful.
Then I tried doing the math by pencil paper method. I still did not see a pattern.
Only when I broke up the segments (add add subtract), did I find a pattern. The individual segments increased by three. I was then able to use a formula in a spreadsheet to complete my calculations and arrive at the end value of 1584.
Click here to view spreadsheet.
Included in the spreadsheet is a graph that represents the expression y=3x. By plotting only the early values of x (0,3,6,9) and then plotting ending value of x (96) we can see that the graph appears to be a straight line. As we continue and fill in these values we see that indeed it is a straight line.