Math seminar is today

The Grand Rapids Community College Mathematics Department will host its next Mathematics Seminar on Thursday, February 26, 3:00-4:30 PM in 103 Cook. Our speaker will be long-time GRCC Adjunct Mathematics Instructor Radu Teodorescu. The title and abstract for Radu’s talk may be found below.

This seminar will focus on everyone’s favorite math topic – word problems! Long the staple of introductory algebra courses, they are, in truth, frequently unpopular with students and instructors alike. But did you know that they may often be solved without recourse to algebra? Come to the seminar and learn how to do many of these problems using nothing but arithmetic! As always, everyone is welcome.

Pop and cookies will be served at 2:45 PM.




Word problems are “le raison d’être” of beginning Mathematics, often one of its most important parts. Usually at this level, word problems are solved using equations or systems of equations. After writing an equation/system for a given word problem we solve it and – voilà! – the solution appears. This is a direct and effective method, but what we gain in simplicity, we lose in depth of understanding of intricate connections among elements of our problem.

By contrast, Arithmetical Methods of solving word problems may appear to be more difficult. A particular kind of problem may need a specific approach, which in turn requires mental gymnastics, but in the end surprising internal links may be revealed. Arithmetical Methods teach us not only to think in non-standard ways, but also to write and display ideas in non-conformist manners. The speaker will present specific Arithmetical techniques, and some of the most important methods (known to him ☺!!), for example, the Method of Reduction to Unit, the Method of Comparison, the Method of Additional Assumption, the Method of Inverse Route, etc.


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