Mike Down Under!

This week I’m here in Melbourne, Australia at the Orientation to Adolescent Studies at Templestowe College. It is such a cool campus and everyone has been welcoming to me. These are the students’ alpacas from their farm, not the participants. They are cool too. I had a great three days meeting the participants and giving a few talks.  My favorite talk is probably the evening session about Math History!  I always run out of time to tell my stories.  Perhaps I should create a compendium of stories for the adolescent when I finish the geometry book?

I talked about what I always call the 3x+1 puzzle, but its actual name is the Colatz Conjecture!  It goes like this…start with a number; if it is even, divide by 2; if it is odd, triple it and add 1.  Now do the same with this new number.  How far can you go?  It’s a great activity to do with students for practice in mental math.  Same with the Goldbach Conjecture; that any even number can be written as the sum of two primes. Fun for students to try.   And if students can prove the Goldbach Conjecture, there is a million dollar prize in it for them.   I’ll just take 5%, thanks.

Michael Waski