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Route to Root

A sequence of numbers x1, x2, x3, ... starts with x1 = 2, and, if you know any term xn, you can find the next term xn+1 using the formula: xn+1 = (xn + 3/xn)/2 . Calculate the first six terms of this sequence. What do you notice? Calculate a few more terms and find the squares of the terms. Can you prove that the special property you notice about this sequence will apply to all the later terms of the sequence? Write down a formula to give an approximation to the cube root of a number and test it for the cube root of 3 and the cube root of 8. How many terms of the sequence do you have to take before you get the cube root of 8 correct to as many decimal places as your calculator will give? What happens when you try this method for fourth roots or fifth roots etc.?

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The nth term of a sequence is given by the formula n^3 + 11n . Find the first four terms of the sequence given by this formula and the first term of the sequence which is bigger than one million. Prove that all terms of the sequence are divisible by 6.

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LOGO Challenge - Sequences and Pentagrams

Explore this how this program produces the sequences it does. What are you controlling when you change the values of the variables?

Ford Circles

Age 16 to 18 Challenge Level:
The GeoGebra applet below shows the construction of a sequence of Ford Circles. Ford Circles have centre $\left(\frac{p}{q},\frac1{2q^2}\right)$ and radius $\frac1{2q^2}$, where $\frac{p}{q}$ is a fraction in its simplest form (that is, $p$ and $q$ are coprime integers).

In the interactivity below, you can move the sliders to choose values for $a, b, c$ and $d$. The circles have centres $\left(\frac{a}{c},\frac1{2c^2}\right)$ and $\left(\frac{b}{d},\frac1{2d^2}\right)$, and radii $\frac1{2c^2}$ and $\frac1{2d^2}$.

When the two circles touch, they are coloured in blue.
Explore the interactivity and find some values of $a, b, c$ and $d$ that generate circles that touch each other.

In the problem Farey Neighbours, you are invited to explore the value of $ad-bc$ for two adjacent fractions $\frac bd$ and $\frac ac$ from any Farey Sequence.

Explore the value of $ad-bc$ for the touching circles that you have found. 
What do you notice?

Can you prove that for any touching circles in the interactivity above, $|ad-bc|=1$?
Can you prove that, given two such circles which touch the $x$ axis at $\frac bd$ and $\frac ac$, the circle with centre $\left(\frac{a+b}{c+d},\frac1{2(c+d)^2}\right)$ and radius $\frac1{2(c+d)^2}$ is tangent to both circles?