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Blocks of Chocolate Math

Our Christmas break began on Wednesday, December 16th, at 3:00 pm. That evening, from 7:00-8:00 pm, Dalhousie University hosted another virtual Math Circles event.  It was impressive to note that three Junior School students—William Larder, Hunter Hood and Jessica Etou—actively participated in the Zoom presentation.  Heesung Yang, a PhD Mathematics candidate at Dalhousie University, kept things interesting as he led participants to discover the hidden patterns of Pascal’s triangle.   He began by investigating patterns involving the consumption of blocks of chocolate that revealed the basic pattern, discovering the connections to combinatorics (the art of counting) in the process.  Once the pattern was recognized, students could continue generating a new number by adding the two numbers directly above it. Further study revealed the counting numbers in the 2nd diagonal of the triangle, as well as the triangular numbers in the 3rd, and tetrahedral numbers in the 4th.  A “hockey stick pattern” was also identified, as well as the Fibonacci number sequence, by using shallow diagonals in Pascal’s triangle.  A fractal pattern, Sierpinski’s triangle, also was revealed as odd and even numbers were coloured in the original triangle.  As William commented, “…the number of patterns in Pascal’s triangle is really amazing.”  The topic was interesting, indeed, and it was a great way to kick off the holiday season.  Dalhousie University will host its next virtual Math Circles evening on Wednesday, January 27th.  Ms. Sarah Li will explore the mathematics behind logic and puzzles.  Participating in Dalhousie Math Circles is a wonderful enrichment opportunity for advanced and interested math students. 

Taya Shields
Junior School Director

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KES inspires academic, athletic and artistic excellence with a commitment to the traditional community ideals of gentleness and learning, dignity and respect, so that students may discover and cultivate their unique potential, prepare for post-secondary education and develop a life-long enthusiasm for the spiritual and intellectual growth necessary to flourish in the contemporary world.

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King's-Edgehill School
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Windsor, Nova Scotia
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King's-Edgehill School is a coeducational boarding and day school for grades 6 through 12, located in Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada.