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Topics for Middle School Math Projects, page 1
Analysis of the 24 Game  back to topic list
In 1988, inventor Robert Sun invented the 24 game. “I wanted to demonstrate that mathematics can be powerful, engaging and most of all, fun,” says Sun. “Knowing the answer is always 24 alleviates a classic brand of math anxiety—getting the right answer—and instead puts the emphasis on the process and patterns, what I like to call ‘the method behind the math.’ ” More information about the game can be found at www.math24.com.  Many math teachers have the game, and it is also sold at educational stores and teacher stores. 

Art & Architecture in Math back to topic list
Are you considering becoming an artist, designer or architect?  Many geometric principles are used by artists and architects in their work.  Consider doing some research into specific works of art or specific techniques.  See also  Golden Ratio and Tessellations.

Binary Number System  back to topic list
The number system that we use every day is called the Base 10 (decimal) numbering system since it has 10 digits:  0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.  The binary number system only has two digits 0 and 1.  Who would use such a system?  Your computer!!  Challenge:  My neighbor Frankie can write his age as 1100 in base 2!  (hint:  he is in seventh grade) 

Binomial Theorem  back to topic list
This topic involves expanding a binomial raised to a power.  A binomial is an algebraic expression that is the sum of two terms.  The binomial theorem expands the (a + b)n , where a and b are terms in the binomial and n is a numerical exponent.  You can also check your expansion using this QuickMath Expand page.  (on the QuickMath page, a user can type in an algebraic expression and the computer will return an answer!) The binomial theorem has many applications including probability and physics.

Catalan Numbers  back to topic list
The Catalan numbers express the number of ways that a polygon with N sides can be divided into triangles.  Diagonals that are drawn are not allowed to intersect. These numbers 1, 2, 5, 14, 42, 132, ... may be found in  Pascal's Triangle

Cryptography or Ciphering and Deciphering Codes  back to topic list
You may not have realized it, but math is involved in encoding messages.  Public key cryptography involves two keys:  one that is used to put the message into "code" or cipher and one that is used to decode it.  Modulo arithmetic (also known as clock arithmetic) is involved and prime numbers play an important part. 

Complex & Imaginary Numbers  back to topic list
Complex numbers include all real numbers and all imaginary numbers.  The general form for a complex number is a + bi where a and b are real numbers and i2 = -1.  If you have never heard of i, you might wish to read the online picture book, John and Betty's Journey into Complex Numbers. This book is available online through the Math Forum website and was written by Australian mathematicican Matt Bower.

Conic Sections  back to topic list
Conic sections are formed by the intersection of a plane with a right circular cone (which resembles a sugar cone without the ice cream).  Examples of conic sections include circles, parabolas, hyperbolas and ellipses. 

Diophantine Equations   back to topic list
These equations, named after the Greek mathematician Diophantis, are equations in which only integer solutions are involved.  Not having fraction or decimal answers make it more challenging.  There are rules to predict whether equations have solutions or not.

Fibonacci Sequence   back to topic list
The Fibonacci sequence of numbers is 1, 1, 2,3, 5, 8, 13,... is a recursive function.  That means that the next number in the sequence depends on numbers that come before it.  To find the next number, add the two previous numbers.  ex. 8 + 13 = 21.  These numbers are found very often in nature. 

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This page last updated 8/9/02
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