Computer Help in Mathematical Problem Solving

This booklet, from the Mathematics Centre at the University of Chichester, explores how the microcomputer can be a valuable tool when engaged in investigating a situation that leads to such laborious arithmetic that the 'sums' spoil the activity, especially in the organisation of data and the start of a search for a pattern.

The purpose of this booklet is to provide short programs to take care of the tedious part of a number of intriguing investigations. The booklet advocates that in every case a start should be made by hand, and the programs only used when the labour of repetitive calculation begins to spoil the search for pattern.

The programs are written for a BBC computer though most will run on other machines using BASIC with little or no change.

The investigations include Number Chains, Happy Numbers, Fibonacci sequences, Modulo arithmetic and Triangles on a geoboard.

All the investigations and the programs used are described in detail, often giving a number of alternative directions that could be followed. This is especially so with the search for prime numbers. Here different search parameters that can be used are compared.

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