Problem of the Week

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Problem of the Week

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Around King Arthur's Table Commented [1]: This is a thing of beauty! I'd like to

hang this up on my wall outside if that's okay with you

5?

Problem Statement

King Arthur had his knights play a game to decide who would get an extra dessert, the

chance to kill a dragon, and other coveted opportunities that were hot in the late 5th and early

6th centuries. He started out by placing a number on each chair around the table, starting with 1

and continuing consecutively. He would then start with the first knight, saying youre in, and

continued on to the second night to say, youre out, and at the third knight, youre in. Arthur

would alternate between youre in or youre out, continuing around the table. If there was an

empty chair he would move past it and continue the pattern. This would continue until he

eliminated all but one knight. The last knight at the table was the winner.

The number of knights varied from day to day, but if you knew how many knights were

going to be at the table, how could you determine which chair to sit in so you could be the

winner?

Task:

Make a general rule, formula, or procedure that could predict the winning seat depending

on how many knights are present.

Process:

1. We went through possible number of knights and went around the table deciding who

was out and who was in until we got to the winner. We did this process from 1 to 31.

2. We then made a table of the number of knights and who won.

3. We analyzed the table and found different patterns.

4. We first found that there were different sections that correlated with the powers of 2.

5. If your looking at 23 the new section would start at 8 and end once you get to the 24-1-1,

which is 15.

6. We then found out that if you know how many people will be there, then you can

determine the winning seat by finding out what section youre in.

7. You see what power of 2 section youre in and start at the beginning of that section

knowing that the winner of the beginning will be seat one, then count by odd consecutive

numbers until you reach how many knights are in your round.

Solution:

For this problem we found two methods, both more process-based than formulaic, of

finding the winning chair. The first process is as follows:

1. Count the number of seats at the table.

2. Find out in what grouping of 2x your number of seats would fall into.

3. The product of 2x is the number where you should begin counting the winners seat

starting with 1.

4. From there begin finding the winning chair by counting each chair with its consecutive

odd integer.

5. Once you have reached the odd integer that correlates to the amount of seats to begin, sit

in the chair with that number and you will win.

2 + 1 2 =

1. = 2 () + 1

2. Round down to the nearest whole number, i.e. 4.9 => 4, not 5,

3. Rounded down =

4. Put the newly found into the 2 + 1 2 = equation

5. Sit in chair and slay on

Visual Representation:

# of Knights (= Knight Who Powers of 2

x) Wins (= y) Difference from # of knights and Knight who wins (exponent = n)

1 1 0 20

2 1 1

3 3 0 21

4 1 3

5 3 2

6 5 1

7 7 0 22

8 1 7

9 3 6

10 5 5

11 7 4

12 9 3

13 11 2

14 13 1 23

15 15 0

16 1 15

17 3 14

18 5 13

19 7 12

20 9 11

21 11 10

22 13 9

23 15 8

24 17 7

25 19 6

26 21 5

27 23 4

28 25 3

29 27 2

30 29 1

31 31 0 24

2

The colors correlate with what powers of 2 it is. (ex: 2 is all of the boxes highlighted orange)

The powers of two refer to how many solutions there are within a section.

Evaluation:

We all enjoyed this problem! At first setting up the table and figuring out the patterns was Commented [2]: I'm so glad to hear this, and, from my

perspective, it was wonderful to watch you 5

kind of time consuming, but it made all of us think. It was hard to find the patterns that was collaborate and bounce ideas off each other. Great

hidden within table but once we find those hidden patterns it felt rewarding and overall very work!

exciting. One of the hardest things for us to find was the formula/processes, which of course took

time but once again we figured it out which made us all very excited and happy, though slightly

frustrated that we could not find a perfect formula in time to turn it in. However, discussion with

Hannah could help lead us to the correct answer, so that we have closure. Overall, this P.O.W.

was both fun and challenging.

Self-Assessment:

For this P.O.W., we chose to do the write up together, with each person choosing a

section to complete. It took all of us to find formulas and important details for this P.O.W., so we

used both mathematical/logical skills, as well as teamwork skills. This allowed us to find a useful

solution to the given problem. For both the work that we put in to this P.O.W. and for the

solution we found, we all deserve a high grade.

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