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Integrating History and Mathematics?

Boyd Henry (1926-2009), former mathematics educator in Idaho, loved mathematics (especially numbers) and was always creative in his mathventures. We miss you Boyd!

The following is one example. It is not a problem in the usual sense, but it is a mathventure. Plus, the always helpful Boyd tosses in "exact" divisions to ensure you are on the right track.

  1. Pick any whole number. Remember it.
  2. Add the year of the Louisana Purchase.
  3. Multiply by the year the Magna Carta was signed.
  4. Subtract the year the Civil War ended.
  5. Subtract the year WWII ended.
  6. Divide by 15.*
  7. Subtract 100 times the year the Wars of the Roses began.
  8. Multiply by the year before the year of the Battle of New Orleans.
  9. Subtract the year of the Battle of Shiloh and Antietam.
  10. Divide by the last 2 digits of the year of the California Gold Rush.*
  11. Subtract the year of the transcontinental railroad was completed.
  12. Subtract the year of the Missouri Compromise.
  13. Divide by the last 2 digits of the year of Linbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic.*
  14. Multiply by the year Columbus discovered America.
  15. Subtract the year President Lincoln was shot.
  16. Divide by the number of years from the discovery of America until Lincoln's assasination.*
  17. Subtract the year that Jamestown was settled.
  18. Multiply by the year Lewis and Clark set out to explore the West.
  19. Add 111,111.
  20. Divide by the last two digits of the year 9 years before the Pilgrims landed.
  21. Add the year the first U.S. Congress met and Washington was elected President.
  22. Divide by the last 2 digits of the year of Pearl Harbor.*
  23. Add the year man first walked on the moon.
  24. Add the last 2 digits of the year the southern Confederacy was formed.
  25. Divide by the number you originally chose.*
  26. If you make no mistakes your answer should be a very auspicious year in U.S. history.
*All divisions should result in a whole number.


Source: B. Henry's "History/Arithmetic Magic," WSMC Newsletter many, many years ago!

Hint: Start by determining the historical dates...and take some time to read about the events themselves....

Also, remember that Boyd tossed in "exact" divisions to ensure you are on the right track. So, if a division has a remainder, something is wrong...back up...retry....


Solution Commentary: Rather than give you the final year, I will provide all of the desired dates. However, they are listed in time-order, not by their appearance in the problem's questions.

The dates: 1215, 1455, 1492, 1607, 1620, 1789, 1803, 1804, 1813, 1820, 1849, 1861, 1862, 1865, 1865, 1869, 1927, 1941, 1945, 1969.

If you disagree with these dates, sorry...