The Sum of the Parts: A Hands-On Activity for Sequences

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Mathematics and Computer Education


This article presents a hands-on visual approach to sequences designed for pre-service teachers. The activity begins with some type of circular-shaped candy, as a large peanut butter cup. Cutting the candy in half, the candy is placed on a napkin, then the remaining half is cut to halves again. This can be performed using paper circles and scissors introducing students to the idea of repeatedly halving a quantity and the concept of a geometric sequence, where r = ½. Students are asked to describe in words what is happening in the sequence. The final question on the activity has the students list mathematical concepts that are demonstrated with this activity.

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