Dividing a Square
Date: 07/31/99 at 02:00:10 From: Lulu Subject: Square Share Dear Dr Math: Hello! I am studying exponents and I have a project called "Square Share." I am really confused about the questions posed by the project. Can you please help me? The questions are: A line can divide a square into a number of equal-sized smaller squares. The table below shows the number of lines required to divide a square into a certain number of equal smaller squares. Find a pattern that would tell you how many lines would be required to divide a square into 100 smaller squares, into 400 smaller square, into "n" smaller squares. Number of Smaller Squares Number of Lines 4 2 9 4 100 ? n ? 1. Does your pattern (rule) work with no lines/no smaller squares? Why or why not? 2. Explain any limits on the number of smaller squares you can make. 3. Is it possible to use lines to divide a square into smaller squares that are not equal in size? 4. What is the general pattern (rule) for the number of smaller squares formed if you are given the number of lines? Explain any restrictions on the number of lines you can use in the pattern (Rule). I worked out the rule as (Line/2+10)^2. How can I use this to answer the questions? I am looking forward your help. Thanks a lot!
Date: 09/02/99 at 09:58:16 From: Doctor Dwayne Subject: Re: Square Share Hey Lulu, Tough project! However, it may turn out to be a very interesting one because of the neat properties that you'll discover about squares. So before looking at this project from a purely mathematical angle, let's just make a few observations which will enhance our intuition on the topic. Take a square and draw a perpendicular line down from one of its horizontal sides to the opposite horizontal side. The result is two rectangles. Now draw a similar line from one vertical side to the opposite vertical side. The first rule we'll learn is that the same number of lines (in the same relative position) is needed in the horizontal as in the vertical to ensure squares. Why? Well the horizontal lines divide the length of the square up into segments, and to divide the width into the segments of the same length (necessary for tiny squares) you need the same number of vertical lines. +-----+-----+ +-----+-----+ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | +-----+-----+ | | | | | | | | | | | | +-----+-----+ +-----+-----+ The second thing of note is a trend: one vertical line divides the square into 2 parts, and two such lines divide the square into three parts, and three such lines into four parts and the trend continues. +---+---+---+ +--+--+--+--+ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | +---+---+---+ +--|--+--+--+ But remember that the same number of horizontal lines is always drawn as well (from our earlier discovery). Consequently, if we have one vertical line we have 2 by 2 sections, if we have 2 vertical lines we have 3 by 3 sections (since we have two horizontals as well), or for 3 verticals we have 4 by 4 and so on. (It may help if you draw this.) +---+---+---+ +--+--+--+--+ | | | | |__|__|__|__| +---+---+---+ | | | | | | | | | |--+--+--+--| +---+---+---+ |__|__|__|__| | | | | | | | | | +---+---+---+ +--|--+--+--+ Now we convert our observations into mathematical expressions. One vertical line leads to 2 by 2 (2 squared) smaller squares, two vertical lines lead to 3 by 3 (3 squared) smaller squares, etc. As a result we realize that 4 vertical lines would lead to 5^2 squares. But note that 4 verticals are only half the total number of lines, since there are 4 horizontals as well. So if we call the total number of lines 'x', then the number of verticals equals x/2. And the number of small squares can be calculated as well. See if you can now write a formula using x to describe the number of smaller squares (call that number n). This formula will be the basis of the project. Here are some hints: To answer #1, try x = 0 and see if the formula gives you 1 as the answer. Question #2 is hard if you don't immediately see what they mean by limitations. To begin, see if there's any way to get 64 squares, then see if there's any way to get 65 squares. See the difference? Explain why, and the limitations will be clear. We've already answered #3, but see if you can state it clearly here. And #4 is all yours. Good luck and I hope this all helped. If not write back. - Doctor Dwayne, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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