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Mathematics for Elementary Teachers: A Conceptual Approach, 8/e
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Decimals: Rational and Irrational Numbers
6.3 Ratio, Percent, and Scientific Notation
Mathematics for Elementary Teachers: A Conceptual Approach

Math Investigation

Math Investigator 6.3

PALINDROMIC DECIMALS on the Math Investigator computes the sums of decimals and their reverses.

A palindromic decimal is one that reads the same from right to left as from left to right. For example, 37.73 is a palindromic decimal, but 5.65 and 988.9 are not. In the example shown below, the process of repeatedly adding a number to its reverse is carried out 3 times before a palindromic decimal is obtained.

9.7
+7.9
17.6
+6.71
24.31
+13.42
37.73

Starting Points for Investigations

  1. Every two-digit whole number leads to a palindromic number by the process of reversing and adding the digits. Will every two-digit decimal (4.8, .61, 7.9, .08, etc.) lead to a palindromic decimal? Form a conjecture and show examples to support it.
  2. Most two-digit decimals will go to palindromic decimals in the same number or fewer steps than required for the corresponding whole number having the same digits. For example, 89 requires 24 steps (see Investigation 1.3), but 8.9 takes fewer steps. Try it. There are just 9 two-digit decimals which require more steps than the corresponding whole numbers. There is a very interesting pattern for 8 of these decimals; the sum of each of their digits is the same. What are these decimals?
  3. Try a few three-digit decimals to see if they go to palindromic decimals. Form a conjecture based on your observations and show examples to support it.
  4. There are just 4 three-digit decimals which will not lead to palindromic decimals in 23 or fewer steps. The sums of the digits in each of these decimals is 25. What are these decimals?
  5. Investigate some four-digit decimals to see if they go to palindromic decimals. Try finding some which will not go to palindromic decimals in 23 or fewer steps. (Hint: Look for patterns in the three-digit decimals which did not go to palindromic decimals and try generalizing to four-digit decimals.)
  6. Can the patterns for the three-digit and four-digit decimals that do not go to palindromic decimals be extended to find five-digit decimals (or decimals with a greater numbers of digits) that will not go to palindromic decimals? Investigate some of these decimals to determine the numbers of steps required to obtain palindromic decimals. Form conjectures based on your observations.

*Palindromic Decimals Investigation (Chapter 6, Section 3)
Read Me - Palindromic Decimals Instructions (Word Format) (24.0K)

     Click here to begin the Palindromic Decimals Investigator