Copyright © University of Cambridge. All rights reserved.

'The Legacy' printed from http://nrich.maths.org/

Show menu


This is an opportunity for pupils to set up their own models using a spreadsheet and investigate what happens when they change variables such as interest, inflation rates and how much is spent each year. Investigating how a small change in interest rates can affect the total income over different time periods can be enlightening. Investigating the impact of spending large amounts of money up-front can also provide valuable insights.

Some models are suggested on the model cards which have varying levels of complexity. Some suggestions about how a series of sessions working on this problem might run are given briefly below.

After spending some time "making sense" of the problem and what is meant by a model, discuss ideas for making good use of the legacy:
  • What types of things should the money be spent on?
  • Why would the ex-pupil want the money to have a long term impact?
  • What is the importance of inflation in any model we try?
  • Why would you invest the money?
Students could work in groups to think about the models they might like to investigate then choose two models to compare. Think about:
  • Total expenditure for each model,
  • Benefits and limitations of each model,
  • Comparisons between models,
  • How a change in inflation might change the recommendations,
  • How a change in the time-scale for using the money might affect any recommendation.
A plenary might include a discussion of the elegance or realism of some of the models and what the use of a spreadsheet had to offer to the task.