Stage: 4 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3 Challenge Level:3

Diagram for solution.

Choose any two numbers. Call them $a$ and $b$ ($b < a$). Work out the arithmetic mean $(a + b)/2$ and the geometric mean $\sqrt{ab}$. Which is bigger? Repeat for other pairs of numbers. What do you notice?

In the diagram PQRS is a rectangle measuring $a$ units by $b$ units. The green rectangle measures $(a + b)/2$ by $b$ and the orange and blue rectangles both measure $(a - b)/2$ by $b$. By considering the areas of the rectangles explain why this diagram shows that $$ab < ({{a + b}\over 2})^2. $$ What does this tell us about the arithmetic mean and the geometric mean of two numbers?