CAMP 2023 – Questions to Ponder

Calling all CAMPers, parents, and curious readers – CAMP math instructors Japheth and Frances have a few fun problems for you to think about for the rest of the summer:

Cookies and Kids: Kids A, B, C share a certain number of cookies (some might get zero). Find a systematic way to represent each way to share. Then arrange all the ways to share in a triangle. Hint: This problem has a hidden relationship involving the numbers 2 and 5. Can you find it? Bonus Question: Can you find a pattern for different numbers of kids, and/or different numbers of cookies?

Grid Paths: Point B is two blocks East and some number of blocks South from point A. How many paths are there from point A to point B that are of the shortest possible length? Find a systematic way to represent each possible path. Then arrange all the paths in a triangle. Bonus Question: We also looked at shortest walking paths in a square grid with walks North and East. Is there a pattern to the number of possible shortest walking paths when walking 2 blocks North and b blocks East? What about when walking 3 blocks North and b blocks East?

Spot It! : Seven was the largest number of symbols and cards we found if there are 3 symbols per card. Is 7 the largest possible number of cards that could be made with 3 symbols per card? Prove (or disprove) this statement. Hint: How can we know when something is impossible or possible but not yet figured out?

Spot It!Bonus Question 1: Is the largest number of cards that can be made always equal to the number of symbols? Bonus Question 2: Can decks of Spot It! Cards be made for any number of symbols per card or are there numbers for which cards cannot be created? Bonus Question 3: The decks sold have missing cards. Are there efficient ways to find which cards were omitted? Bonus Question 4: How many cards and symbols are there in a deck of 7 Spot It? Then design a deck of 7-Spot It, which some people claim does not exist.

Fractions: 2/3 x 5/7 can be thought of as “2/3 of 5/7”. If we use a circle to represent the number one, what can be drawn in the circle to demonstrate the meaning of and answer to 2 ⁄ 3 x 5/7 ?

Pascal’s Triangle: Pascal’s Triangle is full of interesting relationships. Keep looking at it and write the ones you discover. What other questions do you have about these topics?

Have fun, and keep exploring!