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STELLAR NUMBERS Internal Assessment

10.13.10

The aim of this task is to consider geometric shapes which lead to special numbers. An example can come from the square numbers, 1, 4, 9, 16, which can be represented by squares of side 1, 2, 3, and 4. The first given task relates to triangular numbers. Triangular numbers are the number of dots equally filled in an equilateral triangle such as 1, 3, 6, 10, and so on. The second given task relates to stellar (star) shapes and stellar numbers.

The first task provides five diagrams that show a triangular pattern of evenly spaced dots, and the numbers of dots in each diagram are triangular numbers. The assignment is to complete the triangular numbers sequence with three more terms, and to find a general statement that represents the nth triangular number in terms of n.
Diagram 1

Un represents the number of dots in the nth triangle. In the sequence, a list of related numbers, the first triangle, U1, there is only one dot. In U2 there are three dots, U3 there are six dots, U4 there are ten dots, and U5 there are fifteen dots. In diagram 1, it can be seen from U1 to U2, there has been an increase of two, from U2 to U3 an increase of three, and so on. To show this arithmetically, U1 = 1 dot, U2 = 1+2 = 3 dots, U3 = 1+2+3 = 6 dots, U4 = 1+2+3+4 = 10 dots, and U5 = 1+2+3+4+5 = 15 dots. Therefore, the solution to finding U6 would be to add 1+2+3+4+5+6 which has a result of 21, and U7 would be to add 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 which has a result of 28.
Table 1

n (term) Un

1 1

2 3

3 6

4 10

5 15

6 21

7 28

The second part to task one asks for the general statement that represents the nth triangular number in terms of n. To obtain the general statement, an example of how to obtain the general statement of the sum of an arithmetic series may be used. An arithmetic series is the addition of successive terms of an arithmetic sequence. The terms of an arithmetic sequence are: U1, U1+d,

U1+2d, U1+3d, etc., and Un is the last term. Therefore, Sn (the sum of related numbers with n terms) = U1 + (U1+d) + (U1+2d) + (U1+3d) + + (Un-2d) + (Un-d) + Un. If the order of the equation is reversed with the commutative property, there would be a result of Sn =Un + (Un-d) + (Un-2d) + + (U1+3d) + (U1+2d) + (U1+d) + U1. Then, adding them together will give the result of: 2Sn = (U1+Un) + (U1+Un) + (U1+Un) + (U1+Un) + + (Un+U1) + (Un+U1) + (Un+U1) which shows there are n of (U1+Un). So, Sn =
(+)

is the general statement for the sum of an

arithmetic series. The method of obtaining that general statement can be used for the general statement of the nth triangular number in terms of n. The way to approach the statement would be to add Un = 1 + 2 + 3 + + (n-2) + (n-1) + n (assuming n is the last term) to the reversed order, Un = n + (n-1) + (n-2) + + 3 + 2 + 1 which gives 2Un = (n+1) + (n+1) + (n+1) + + (n+1) + (n+1) + (n+1). Like the previous example, there are n of (n+1). Therefore, general statement that represents the nth triangular number in terms of n is
(+)

or simplified as

2 + 2

Now the general statement,

(+1) 2

, will be tested to show its validity by using previous data.

For the first triangle/term there was 1 dot, for the third triangle/term there were 6 dots, and for the sixth triangle/term there were 21 dots. term,
3(3+1) 2 1(1+1) 2

= 1 proves the statement right for the first


6(6+1) 2

= 6 proves the statement right for the third term, and


(+1) 2

= 21 proves the

statement right for the sixth term. Therefore,

is valid.

The second task includes many parts within and provides a diagram for reference. The first the assignment asks for is to find the number of dots in each stage up to S6. Second, find an expression for the 6-stellar number at stage S7. Third, find a general statement for the 6-stellar number at stage Sn in terms of n and repeat the steps above for other values of p. Afterwards, they ask to produce the general statement, in terms of p and n, that generates the sequence of p-stellar numbers for any value of p at stage Sn.
Diagram 2

In S1, there is only 1 dot and in S2 there are 13 dots which is S1 (the previous 1 dot) + 12. The twelve is a constant because every star has six vertices and every two sides of two vertices share a point in between as seen in diagram 2. Overall there are 12 dots, excluding the one dot in the middle. For S3 there are 37 dots because the previous, S2, added to the outermost star, another 12 dots, added to another 12(1) because in S3 there is an extra dot in between each of the twelve sides of the outermost star. So, in S4 following the same pattern as previously, would be 37 (the total number of dots from S3) + 12 + 12(2) = 73. For S4 it is 12(2) because the outermost star has 2 extra dots on each of the 12 sides. S5 = 73 (S4s total # of dots) + 12 + 12(3) = 121. S6 = 121 + 12 + 12(4) = 181.
Table 2

n Sn

1 1

2 13

3 37

4 73

5 121

6 181

For S7, the expression used would be S6 + 12 + 12(5) which equals to 253.

At this point, the task asks to find a general statement for the 6-stellar number at stage Sn in terms of n. It is known that the general form of an arithmetic series is 2[2U1 + (n-1)d]. For now the S1 will be put aside and the focus will start with S2. S2 = 1+12, S3 = 1+12+24, and S4 = 1+12+24+36. Therefore, you have 12 + 24 + 36 + ... U1 = 12 and d = 12. As a result,
2

[2(12) + (n-1)12] and because we still have S1, we subtract one term from n. Hence, instead of
1 2

n, it is n-1. So at the end you obtain

[2(12) + (n-2)(12)] which simplifies into 6n(n-1). Dont

forget in the beginning we put aside S1 = 1. Notice all the stars have one dot in the center so that one dot we put aside needs to be added to the simplified formula, 6n(n-1). Afterwards, the final general statement is 1+ 6n(n-1).

In this part of the task, other values of p need to be used to find the number of dots in each stage up to S6 and S7 with an expression. The first different value of p that is going to be used is 5 instead of the original, 6. Instead of the constant of 12 dots, the constant this time would be 10 dots because there are 10 sides to a star with 5 vertices and besides the 5 vertices, every 2 sides of 2 vertices of the star share a dot in between. S1 would still contain only 1 dot but S2 would contain S1 + 10 = 11 dots, and so on for S3 through S7.
Table 3

n Sn

1 1

2 11

3 31

4 61

5 101

6 151

7 211

According to the previous methods of how to figure out the number of dots in each star, the expression for finding the number of dots in S7 would be S6 + 10 + 10(5) = 211. The general statement in terms of p and n that generates the sequence of p-stellar numbers for any value of p at stage Sn is Sn = 1+ np(n-1).

To test the statement, 5 will be plugged into p. S1 = 1 + (1)(5)(1-1) = 1 (correct according to Table 3.) S2 = 1+ (2)(5)(2-1) = 11 (correct according to Table 3.) S3 = 1 + (3)(5)(3-1) = 31(correct according to Table 3.) Therefore, the general statement is valid. Limitations of this particular general statement Sn = 1+ np(n-1) are n1 and p3. n1 because U1 is the first term of a sequence or series and p3 because just one or two vertices do not create a star or polygon in general.

Scope of this general statement Sn = 1+ np(n-1) is it is applicable to all Stellar shape, regardless of the number of vertices. Therefore, theoretically this general statement is true for any number of p. However, the limitation of this general statement is it doesnt apply to any other shapes, such as triangle, or pentagon.

This assignment on stellar numbers asked to solve for many solutions and formulas according to given diagrams. To obtain the solutions and formulas, a connection with sequences and series had to be made. Methods used to find general statements of series and sequences were used to find general statements of the given diagrams. Technology used in this paper were for setting up the diagrams, searching for definitions of related mathematical words, and calculating the general statements for validity. Overall the technique used to find the formulas were a success and allowed all parts to be answered.