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Discrete Math Problem Solving for Middle School Students

David Patrick
Art of Problem Solving www.artofproblemsolving.com

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Outline
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What is Discrete Math? Why Discrete Math? Some Discrete Math Problems Counting & Probability Number Theory Graph Theory Two-Player Strategy Games Resources Books Contests Math Circles Summary

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What is Discrete Math?

What discrete math is not

By discrete math, I generally mean things outside of the usual Pre-algebra Algebra Geometry Advanced Algebra / Trigonometry Precalculus sequence of coursework (although there is denitely some overlap).

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What is Discrete Math?

What discrete math is

Discrete math (at the middle-school level) includes the following subject areas: Combinatorics Probability Number Theory Graph Theory Set Theory and Logic Algorithms Two-player Strategy Games

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What is Discrete Math?

What discrete math is

Discrete math (at the middle-school level) includes the following subject areas: Combinatorics Probability Number Theory Graph Theory Set Theory and Logic Algorithms Two-player Strategy Games

Combinatorics
Elementary counting problems Permutations & combinations Pascals Triangle Inclusion/Exclusion

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What is Discrete Math?

What discrete math is

Discrete math (at the middle-school level) includes the following subject areas: Combinatorics Probability Number Theory Graph Theory Set Theory and Logic Algorithms Two-player Strategy Games

Probability
Discrete probability Dependent and independent events Expected value Conditional probability

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What is Discrete Math?

What discrete math is

Discrete math (at the middle-school level) includes the following subject areas: Combinatorics Probability Number Theory Graph Theory Set Theory and Logic Algorithms Two-player Strategy Games

Number Theory
Primes and divisibility Factoring Euclidean Algorithm (for GCD) Basic Diophantine equations (equations with integer solutions)

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What is Discrete Math?

What discrete math is

Discrete math (at the middle-school level) includes the following subject areas: Combinatorics Probability Number Theory Graph Theory Set Theory and Logic Algorithms Two-player Strategy Games

Graph Theory
Basics of nite graphs Graph coloring Modeling problems using graphs (e.g. tournaments) Euler tours

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What is Discrete Math?

What discrete math is

Discrete math (at the middle-school level) includes the following subject areas: Combinatorics Probability Number Theory Graph Theory Set Theory and Logic Algorithms Two-player Strategy Games

Set Theory / Logic

Unions and intersections Truth tables Inference and logical reasoning Elementary proofs

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What is Discrete Math?

What discrete math is

Discrete math (at the middle-school level) includes the following subject areas: Combinatorics Probability Number Theory Graph Theory Set Theory and Logic Algorithms Two-player Strategy Games

Algorithms
Simple algorithms for solving problems Standard algorithms (e.g. search, sorts) Estimating run time and termination

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What is Discrete Math?

What discrete math is

Discrete math (at the middle-school level) includes the following subject areas: Combinatorics Probability Number Theory Graph Theory Set Theory and Logic Algorithms Two-player Strategy Games

Strategy Games
Tic-tac-toe Nim and other chip-selecting games Board games (e.g. Chomp, Hex)

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Why often overlooked?

Why is discrete math often overlooked or underrepresented at the middle-school level? Not a focus of high-stakes testing Not a focus of the SAT Not perceived as important in the same way that algebra/geometry are Arguably, algebra prociency is the most important feature of middle-school math, and geometry is used to introduce proofs (though usually in high school).

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Reasons for discrete math

Gateway to higher mathematics Gateway to computer programming Real-world mathematics Math contests Mathematical reasoning and proof Fun!

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Gateway to higher mathematics

Discrete mathalong with calculus and abstract algebrais Gateway to computer one of the core components of programming mathematics at the Real-world undergraduate level, especially mathematics applied math. Students seeing Math contests discrete math in middle or high Mathematical reasoning school will be at an advantage. and proof Fun!

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Reasons for discrete math

Gateway to higher mathematics Gateway to computer programming Real-world mathematics Math contests Mathematical reasoning and proof Fun!

Modern computer science is built largely on discrete math, in particular combinatorics, logic, and graph theory. A course in discrete mathematics is usually a required part of pursuing a computer science degree.

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Reasons for discrete math

Gateway to higher mathematics Gateway to computer programming Real-world mathematics Math contests Mathematical reasoning and proof Fun!

Discrete math allows students to very quickly explore non-trivial real world problems that are challenging and interesting.

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Reasons for discrete math

Gateway to higher mathematics Gateway to computer programming Real-world mathematics Math contests Mathematical reasoning and proof Fun!

Prominent math competitions such as MATHCOUNTS and the American Mathematics Competitions (AMC 8/10/12) feature discrete math questions as a signicant portion of their contests.

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Reasons for discrete math

Gateway to higher mathematics Gateway to computer programming Real-world mathematics Math contests Mathematical reasoning and proof Fun!

Relatively few formulas to memorize; rather, there are a number of fundamental concepts to be mastered and applied in many different ways. Encourages exible thinking and development of problem-solving skills.

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Reasons for discrete math

Gateway to higher mathematics Gateway to computer programming Real-world mathematics Math contests Mathematical reasoning and proof Fun!

Simply put, many students nd discrete math more fun than algebra or geometry.

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

2005 AMC 8 #15

A ve-legged Martian has a drawer full of socks, each of which is red, white, or blue, and there are at least ve socks of each color. The Martian pulls out one sock at a time without looking. How many socks must the Martian remove from the drawer to be certain there will be 5 socks of the same color? (A) 6 (B) 9 (C) 12 (D) 13 (E) 15

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

2005 AMC 8 #15

A ve-legged Martian has a drawer full of socks, each of which is red, white, or blue, and there are at least ve socks of each color. The Martian pulls out one sock at a time without looking. How many socks must the Martian remove from the drawer to be certain there will be 5 socks of the same color? (A) 6 (B) 9 (C) 12 (D) 13 (E) 15

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

2005 AMC 8 #15

A ve-legged Martian has a drawer full of socks, each of which is red, white, or blue, and there are at least ve socks of each color. The Martian pulls out one sock at a time without looking. How many socks must the Martian remove from the drawer to be certain there will be 5 socks of the same color? (A) 6 (B) 9 (C) 12 (D) 13 (E) 15 The Martian might get unlucky with 12 socks, pulling 4 red, 4 white, and 4 blue. But the 13th sock will guarantee a set of 5.

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

2005 AMC 8 #15

A ve-legged Martian has a drawer full of socks, each of which is red, white, or blue, and there are at least ve socks of each color. The Martian pulls out one sock at a time without looking. How many socks must the Martian remove from the drawer to be certain there will be 5 socks of the same color? (A) 6 (B) 9 (C) 12 (D) 13 (E) 15 The Martian might get unlucky with 12 socks, pulling 4 red, 4 white, and 4 blue. But the 13th sock will guarantee a set of 5. This is an example of the Pigeonhole Principle. This seemingly easy principle (which can easily be grasped by middle-school students) is actually quite deep and a key principle of combinatorics.

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

2005 AMC 8 #15

A ve-legged Martian has a drawer full of socks, each of which is red, white, or blue, and there are at least ve socks of each color. The Martian pulls out one sock at a time without looking. How many socks must the Martian remove from the drawer to be certain there will be 5 socks of the same color? (A) 6 (B) 9 (C) 12 (D) 13 (E) 15 The Martian might get unlucky with 12 socks, pulling 4 red, 4 white, and 4 blue. But the 13th sock will guarantee a set of 5. This is an example of the Pigeonhole Principle. This seemingly easy principle (which can easily be grasped by middle-school students) is actually quite deep and a key principle of combinatorics. This problem also easily generalizes (# of colors, # of legs, # of Martians, etc.)
David Patrick (Art of Problem Solving) Discrete Math for Middle School Students NCTM 2008 Salt Lake 7 / 18

Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

San Diego Math League 2005-06 (Grades 68)

4 blue marbles and 6 red marbles are in a jar. If you draw 2 marbles out of the jar, what is the probability that you get one of each color?

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

San Diego Math League 2005-06 (Grades 68)

4 blue marbles and 6 red marbles are in a jar. If you draw 2 marbles out of the jar, what is the probability that you get one of each color? 8 Answer: 15

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

San Diego Math League 2005-06 (Grades 68)

4 blue marbles and 6 red marbles are in a jar. If you draw 2 marbles out of the jar, what is the probability that you get one of each color? 8 Answer: 15 There are 4 6 = 24 ways to draw two marbles of opposite colors (without regard to order).

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

San Diego Math League 2005-06 (Grades 68)

4 blue marbles and 6 red marbles are in a jar. If you draw 2 marbles out of the jar, what is the probability that you get one of each color? 8 Answer: 15 There are 4 6 = 24 ways to draw two marbles of opposite colors (without regard to order). There are 10 2 = 45 ways to draw any two marbles (without regard to order).

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

San Diego Math League 2005-06 (Grades 68)

4 blue marbles and 6 red marbles are in a jar. If you draw 2 marbles out of the jar, what is the probability that you get one of each color? 8 Answer: 15 There are 4 6 = 24 ways to draw two marbles of opposite colors (without regard to order). There are 10 2 = 45 ways to draw any two marbles (without regard to order). 24 8 So the probability is = . 45 15

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

San Diego Math League 2005-06 (Grades 68)

4 blue marbles and 6 red marbles are in a jar. If you draw 2 marbles out of the jar, what is the probability that you get one of each color? 8 Answer: 15 There are 4 6 = 24 ways to draw two marbles of opposite colors (without regard to order). There are 10 2 = 45 ways to draw any two marbles (without regard to order). 24 8 So the probability is = . 45 15 This is a good example of the danger of comparing apples and oranges. Many students counted 24 and 90 getting an answer of 4/15.
David Patrick (Art of Problem Solving) Discrete Math for Middle School Students NCTM 2008 Salt Lake 8 / 18

Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

MOEMS March 2008 Problem of the Month

3 dice are rolled and their sum is 7. What is the probability that 2 dice show the same number?

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

MOEMS March 2008 Problem of the Month

3 dice are rolled and their sum is 7. What is the probability that 2 dice 3 show the same number? Answer: 5

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

MOEMS March 2008 Problem of the Month

3 dice are rolled and their sum is 7. What is the probability that 2 dice 3 show the same number? Answer: 5 There are four ways to roll 7 with 3 dice:

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

MOEMS March 2008 Problem of the Month

3 dice are rolled and their sum is 7. What is the probability that 2 dice 3 show the same number? Answer: 5 There are four ways to roll 7 with 3 dice: Rolls:

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

MOEMS March 2008 Problem of the Month

3 dice are rolled and their sum is 7. What is the probability that 2 dice 3 show the same number? Answer: 5 There are four ways to roll 7 with 3 dice: Rolls: Arrangements: 3 6 3

Total 15

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

MOEMS March 2008 Problem of the Month

3 dice are rolled and their sum is 7. What is the probability that 2 dice 3 show the same number? Answer: 5 There are four ways to roll 7 with 3 dice: Rolls: Arrangements: 3 6 3 9 of these arrangements have two dice equal.

Total 15

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

MOEMS March 2008 Problem of the Month

3 dice are rolled and their sum is 7. What is the probability that 2 dice 3 show the same number? Answer: 5 There are four ways to roll 7 with 3 dice: Rolls: Arrangements: 3 6 3 9 of these arrangements have two dice equal. 9 3 Therefore, the probability is = . 15 5

Total 15

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Counting & Probability

MOEMS March 2008 Problem of the Month

3 dice are rolled and their sum is 7. What is the probability that 2 dice 3 show the same number? Answer: 5 There are four ways to roll 7 with 3 dice: Rolls: Total Arrangements: 3 6 3 3 15 9 of these arrangements have two dice equal. 9 3 Therefore, the probability is = . 15 5 This is a hard, subtle problem involving conditional probability. One would generally do some simpler dice problems before working up to this one.

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Sample Problem
Number Theory

2005 AMC 8 #20

Alice and Bob play a game involving a circle whose circumference is divided by 12 equally-spaced points. The points are numbered clockwise, from 1 to 12. Both start on point 12. Alice moves clockwise and Bob, counterclockwise. In a turn of the game, Alice moves 5 points clockwise and Bob moves 9 points counterclockwise. The game ends when they stop on the same point. How many turns will this take? (A) 6 (B) 8 (C) 12 (D) 14 (E) 24

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Sample Problem
Number Theory

2005 AMC 8 #20

Alice and Bob play a game involving a circle whose circumference is divided by 12 equally-spaced points. The points are numbered clockwise, from 1 to 12. Both start on point 12. Alice moves clockwise and Bob, counterclockwise. In a turn of the game, Alice moves 5 points clockwise and Bob moves 9 points counterclockwise. The game ends when they stop on the same point. How many turns will this take? (A) 6 (B) 8 (C) 12 (D) 14 (E) 24

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Sample Problem
Number Theory

2005 AMC 8 #20

Alice and Bob play a game involving a circle whose circumference is divided by 12 equally-spaced points. The points are numbered clockwise, from 1 to 12. Both start on point 12. Alice moves clockwise and Bob, counterclockwise. In a turn of the game, Alice moves 5 points clockwise and Bob moves 9 points counterclockwise. The game ends when they stop on the same point. How many turns will this take? (A) 6 (B) 8 (C) 12 (D) 14 (E) 24 After each move, Alice is 2 more positions clockwise from Bob than she was before the move.

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Sample Problem
Number Theory

2005 AMC 8 #20

Alice and Bob play a game involving a circle whose circumference is divided by 12 equally-spaced points. The points are numbered clockwise, from 1 to 12. Both start on point 12. Alice moves clockwise and Bob, counterclockwise. In a turn of the game, Alice moves 5 points clockwise and Bob moves 9 points counterclockwise. The game ends when they stop on the same point. How many turns will this take? (A) 6 (B) 8 (C) 12 (D) 14 (E) 24 After each move, Alice is 2 more positions clockwise from Bob than she was before the move. So after 6 moves, Alice is 12 positions clockwise from Bob, which means shes on the same point as Bob.

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Sample Problem
Number Theory

2005 AMC 8 #20

Alice and Bob play a game involving a circle whose circumference is divided by 12 equally-spaced points. The points are numbered clockwise, from 1 to 12. Both start on point 12. Alice moves clockwise and Bob, counterclockwise. In a turn of the game, Alice moves 5 points clockwise and Bob moves 9 points counterclockwise. The game ends when they stop on the same point. How many turns will this take? (A) 6 (B) 8 (C) 12 (D) 14 (E) 24 After each move, Alice is 2 more positions clockwise from Bob than she was before the move. So after 6 moves, Alice is 12 positions clockwise from Bob, which means shes on the same point as Bob. This is an introduction to modular arithmetic.
David Patrick (Art of Problem Solving) Discrete Math for Middle School Students NCTM 2008 Salt Lake 10 / 18

Sample Problem
Number Theory & Counting

MATHCOUNTS 2008 Chapter Team #6

What is the smallest positive integer with exactly 14 positive divisors?

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Number Theory & Counting

MATHCOUNTS 2008 Chapter Team #6

What is the smallest positive integer with exactly 14 positive divisors? Answer: 192

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Number Theory & Counting

MATHCOUNTS 2008 Chapter Team #6

What is the smallest positive integer with exactly 14 positive divisors? Answer: 192 A number with prime factorization
ek e1 e2 p1 p2 . . . pk

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Number Theory & Counting

MATHCOUNTS 2008 Chapter Team #6

What is the smallest positive integer with exactly 14 positive divisors? Answer: 192 A number with prime factorization
ek e1 e2 p1 p2 . . . pk

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

11 / 18

Sample Problem
Number Theory & Counting

MATHCOUNTS 2008 Chapter Team #6

What is the smallest positive integer with exactly 14 positive divisors? Answer: 192 A number with prime factorization
ek e1 e2 p1 p2 . . . pk

has (e1 + 1)(e2 + 2) (ek + 1) positive divisors. 14 only factors as 1 14 or 2 7. So any number with exactly 14 positive divisors is of the form p 13 for some prime p , or p 6 q for some primes p and q.

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Number Theory & Counting

MATHCOUNTS 2008 Chapter Team #6

What is the smallest positive integer with exactly 14 positive divisors? Answer: 192 A number with prime factorization
ek e1 e2 p1 p2 . . . pk

has (e1 + 1)(e2 + 2) (ek + 1) positive divisors. 14 only factors as 1 14 or 2 7. So any number with exactly 14 positive divisors is of the form p 13 for some prime p , or p 6 q for some primes p and q. The smallest is then 26 31 = 192.

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Number Theory & Counting

MATHCOUNTS 2008 Chapter Team #6

What is the smallest positive integer with exactly 14 positive divisors? Answer: 192 A number with prime factorization
ek e1 e2 p1 p2 . . . pk

has (e1 + 1)(e2 + 2) (ek + 1) positive divisors. 14 only factors as 1 14 or 2 7. So any number with exactly 14 positive divisors is of the form p 13 for some prime p , or p 6 q for some primes p and q. The smallest is then 26 31 = 192. This is somewhat harder: it combines several concepts from both counting and number theory.
David Patrick (Art of Problem Solving) Discrete Math for Middle School Students NCTM 2008 Salt Lake 11 / 18

Sample Problem
Graph Theory

Mathematical Circles (Chapter 5)

In the country of Seven there are 15 towns, each of which is connected by road to at least 7 others. (a) Is it possible for each town to be connected by road to exactly 7 others? (b) Show that it is possible to travel from any town to any other town, either directly or by passing through another town.

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Sample Problem
Graph Theory

Mathematical Circles (Chapter 5)

In the country of Seven there are 15 towns, each of which is connected by road to at least 7 others. (a) Is it possible for each town to be connected by road to exactly 7 others? (b) Show that it is possible to travel from any town to any other town, either directly or by passing through another town. (a): No.

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Sample Problem
Graph Theory

Mathematical Circles (Chapter 5)

In the country of Seven there are 15 towns, each of which is connected by road to at least 7 others. (a) Is it possible for each town to be connected by road to exactly 7 others? (b) Show that it is possible to travel from any town to any other town, either directly or by passing through another town. (a): No. If each of 15 towns has 7 roads leading out of it, thats a total of 15 7 = 105 roads leading out of towns. But this counts each road twice (once for the town at each end of it), so that means 105/2 = 52.5 roads. But theres no such thing as half a road!

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Sample Problem
Graph Theory

Mathematical Circles (Chapter 5)

In the country of Seven there are 15 towns, each of which is connected by road to at least 7 others. (a) Is it possible for each town to be connected by road to exactly 7 others? (b) Show that it is possible to travel from any town to any other town, either directly or by passing through another town. (a): No. If each of 15 towns has 7 roads leading out of it, thats a total of 15 7 = 105 roads leading out of towns. But this counts each road twice (once for the town at each end of it), so that means 105/2 = 52.5 roads. But theres no such thing as half a road! This is a nice example of a parity argument.

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Sample Problem
Graph Theory

Mathematical Circles (Chapter 5)

In the country of Seven there are 15 towns, each of which is connected by road to at least 7 others. (a) Is it possible for each town to be connected by road to exactly 7 others? (b) Show that it is possible to travel from any town to any other town, either directly or by passing through another town. (b): A good example of proof by contradiction.

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Sample Problem
Graph Theory

Mathematical Circles (Chapter 5)

In the country of Seven there are 15 towns, each of which is connected by road to at least 7 others. (a) Is it possible for each town to be connected by road to exactly 7 others? (b) Show that it is possible to travel from any town to any other town, either directly or by passing through another town. (b): A good example of proof by contradiction. Suppose two towns X and Y cannot be travelled between.

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Sample Problem
Graph Theory

Mathematical Circles (Chapter 5)

In the country of Seven there are 15 towns, each of which is connected by road to at least 7 others. (a) Is it possible for each town to be connected by road to exactly 7 others? (b) Show that it is possible to travel from any town to any other town, either directly or by passing through another town. (b): A good example of proof by contradiction. Suppose two towns X and Y cannot be travelled between. This means that the 7 towns reachable by X and the 7 towns reachable by Y are all different.

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Sample Problem
Graph Theory

Mathematical Circles (Chapter 5)

In the country of Seven there are 15 towns, each of which is connected by road to at least 7 others. (a) Is it possible for each town to be connected by road to exactly 7 others? (b) Show that it is possible to travel from any town to any other town, either directly or by passing through another town. (b): A good example of proof by contradiction. Suppose two towns X and Y cannot be travelled between. This means that the 7 towns reachable by X and the 7 towns reachable by Y are all different. But this is a total of 16 towns! (X and Y and 7 more for each.) Thats too manycontradiction!
David Patrick (Art of Problem Solving) Discrete Math for Middle School Students NCTM 2008 Salt Lake 12 / 18

Sample Problem
Two-Player Strategy Games

Pick-Up Sticks
Tina and Val are playing a game of Pick-Up Sticks. The game starts with 27 sticks in a pile. Each player, in turn, removes 1, 2, 3, or 4 sticks from the pile. The player who takes the last stick wins. Tina goes rst. Who should win and why?

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Two-Player Strategy Games

Pick-Up Sticks
Tina and Val are playing a game of Pick-Up Sticks. The game starts with 27 sticks in a pile. Each player, in turn, removes 1, 2, 3, or 4 sticks from the pile. The player who takes the last stick wins. Tina goes rst. Who should win and why? If played correctly, Tina should win.

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

13 / 18

Sample Problem
Two-Player Strategy Games

Pick-Up Sticks
Tina and Val are playing a game of Pick-Up Sticks. The game starts with 27 sticks in a pile. Each player, in turn, removes 1, 2, 3, or 4 sticks from the pile. The player who takes the last stick wins. Tina goes rst. Who should win and why? If played correctly, Tina should win. Tina should remove 2 sticks from the pile on her rst turn.

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

13 / 18

Sample Problem
Two-Player Strategy Games

Pick-Up Sticks
Tina and Val are playing a game of Pick-Up Sticks. The game starts with 27 sticks in a pile. Each player, in turn, removes 1, 2, 3, or 4 sticks from the pile. The player who takes the last stick wins. Tina goes rst. Who should win and why? If played correctly, Tina should win. Tina should remove 2 sticks from the pile on her rst turn. Then, after Vals turn, Tina should always remove a number of sticks to leave a multiple of 5.

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

13 / 18

Sample Problem
Two-Player Strategy Games

Pick-Up Sticks
Tina and Val are playing a game of Pick-Up Sticks. The game starts with 27 sticks in a pile. Each player, in turn, removes 1, 2, 3, or 4 sticks from the pile. The player who takes the last stick wins. Tina goes rst. Who should win and why? If played correctly, Tina should win. Tina should remove 2 sticks from the pile on her rst turn. Then, after Vals turn, Tina should always remove a number of sticks to leave a multiple of 5. Eventually, Val will have 5 sticks in the pile on her turn, and no matter what she takes, Tina can then win.

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Sample Problem
Two-Player Strategy Games

Pick-Up Sticks
Tina and Val are playing a game of Pick-Up Sticks. The game starts with 27 sticks in a pile. Each player, in turn, removes 1, 2, 3, or 4 sticks from the pile. The player who takes the last stick wins. Tina goes rst. Who should win and why? If played correctly, Tina should win. Tina should remove 2 sticks from the pile on her rst turn. Then, after Vals turn, Tina should always remove a number of sticks to leave a multiple of 5. Eventually, Val will have 5 sticks in the pile on her turn, and no matter what she takes, Tina can then win. This is a simple example of a 2-player strategy game, whose strategy can be analyzed by modular arithmetic. It can easily be generalized.
David Patrick (Art of Problem Solving) Discrete Math for Middle School Students NCTM 2008 Salt Lake 13 / 18

Sample Problem
Two-Player Strategy Games

Pick-Up Sticks
Tina and Val are playing a game of Pick-Up Sticks. The game starts with 27 sticks in a pile. Each player, in turn, removes 1, 2, 3, or 4 sticks from the pile. The player who takes the last stick wins. Tina goes rst. Who should win and why? If played correctly, Tina should win. Tina should remove 2 sticks from the pile on her rst turn. Then, after Vals turn, Tina should always remove a number of sticks to leave a multiple of 5. Eventually, Val will have 5 sticks in the pile on her turn, and no matter what she takes, Tina can then win. This is a simple example of a 2-player strategy game, whose strategy can be analyzed by modular arithmetic. It can easily be generalized. A more complicated type of this game is Nim.
David Patrick (Art of Problem Solving) Discrete Math for Middle School Students NCTM 2008 Salt Lake 13 / 18

Books

Art of Problem Solving books

Introduction to Counting & Probability by D. Patrick Introduction to Number Theory by M. Crawford

Written specically for high-performing students in grades 6-10 Mathematical Circles (Russian Experience) by D. Fomin, S. Genkin, I. Itenberg [AMS] Problem Solving Through Recreational Mathematics by B. Averbach and O. Chein [Dover] MATHCOUNTS School Handbook (annual) [MATHCOUNTS
Foundation] Contains worksheets to be used progressively throughout the year. Available for free at http://www.mathcounts.org

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Discrete Math Resources

Contests

MATHCOUNTS
Over 6,300 schools and 500,000 students at the local level Both individual and team components Handbooks provide a year-round curriculum Competition Jan (in-school), Feb (local), Mar (state), May (national)

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Discrete Math Resources

Contests

MATHCOUNTS
Over 6,300 schools and 500,000 students at the local level Both individual and team components Handbooks provide a year-round curriculum Competition Jan (in-school), Feb (local), Mar (state), May (national)

American Mathematics Competitions (AMC 8)

Late November in schools Over 2,200 schools and 147,000 students 25 question, 40 minute, multiple-choice contest Prizes at the school, state, and national levels

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Discrete Math Resources

Contests

MATHCOUNTS
Over 6,300 schools and 500,000 students at the local level Both individual and team components Handbooks provide a year-round curriculum Competition Jan (in-school), Feb (local), Mar (state), May (national)

American Mathematics Competitions (AMC 8)

Late November in schools Over 2,200 schools and 147,000 students 25 question, 40 minute, multiple-choice contest Prizes at the school, state, and national levels

Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools (MOEMS)

Two divisions (grades 46 and grades 78) Over 5,000 teams and 150,000 students 5 monthly contests (Nov-Mar)

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Discrete Math Resources

Contests

MATHCOUNTS
Over 6,300 schools and 500,000 students at the local level Both individual and team components Handbooks provide a year-round curriculum Competition Jan (in-school), Feb (local), Mar (state), May (national)

American Mathematics Competitions (AMC 8)

Late November in schools Over 2,200 schools and 147,000 students 25 question, 40 minute, multiple-choice contest Prizes at the school, state, and national levels

Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools (MOEMS)

Two divisions (grades 46 and grades 78) Over 5,000 teams and 150,000 students 5 monthly contests (Nov-Mar)

Visit these organizations booths in the Exhibit Hall!

David Patrick (Art of Problem Solving) Discrete Math for Middle School Students NCTM 2008 Salt Lake 15 / 18

Discrete Math Resources

Math Circles

A math circle is a meeting of students and teachers in an informal (usually out-of-school) setting.

Map of math circles in the US and Canada (courtesy MSRI)

David Patrick (Art of Problem Solving) Discrete Math for Middle School Students NCTM 2008 Salt Lake 16 / 18

Discrete Math Resources

Math Circles

From www.mathcircles.org: Mathematical Circles are a form of education enrichment and outreach that bring mathematicians and mathematical scientists into direct contact with pre-college students. . . The goal is to get the students excited about the mathematics, giving them a setting that encourages them to become passionate about mathematics.

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Discrete Math Resources

Math Circles

From www.mathcircles.org: Mathematical Circles are a form of education enrichment and outreach that bring mathematicians and mathematical scientists into direct contact with pre-college students. . . The goal is to get the students excited about the mathematics, giving them a setting that encourages them to become passionate about mathematics. Dont take the phrase mathematicians and mathematical scientists too seriously: many good math circles are organized by teachers, parents, or college students.

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Discrete Math Resources

Math Circles

From www.mathcircles.org: Mathematical Circles are a form of education enrichment and outreach that bring mathematicians and mathematical scientists into direct contact with pre-college students. . . The goal is to get the students excited about the mathematics, giving them a setting that encourages them to become passionate about mathematics. Dont take the phrase mathematicians and mathematical scientists too seriously: many good math circles are organized by teachers, parents, or college students. If theres a math circle near you, encourage your most avid students to attend. Most dont require a long-term commitment. Some want teachers to come too!

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Discrete Math Resources

Math Circles

From www.mathcircles.org: Mathematical Circles are a form of education enrichment and outreach that bring mathematicians and mathematical scientists into direct contact with pre-college students. . . The goal is to get the students excited about the mathematics, giving them a setting that encourages them to become passionate about mathematics. Dont take the phrase mathematicians and mathematical scientists too seriously: many good math circles are organized by teachers, parents, or college students. If theres a math circle near you, encourage your most avid students to attend. Most dont require a long-term commitment. Some want teachers to come too! If theres not a math circle near you, consider starting one! A great resourceCircle in a Boxis available from www.mathcircles.org.
David Patrick (Art of Problem Solving) Discrete Math for Middle School Students NCTM 2008 Salt Lake 17 / 18

Summary

Discrete math should be an important, useful, and fun part of the middle-school math curriculum No magic wand or one size ts all approach Good way to develop problem-solving skills Lots of resources available

NCTM 2008 Salt Lake

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Summary

Discrete math should be an important, useful, and fun part of the middle-school math curriculum No magic wand or one size ts all approach Good way to develop problem-solving skills Lots of resources available