Students like being able to check their final answers for homework problems, say, by looking up the answers in the backs of their text books. Wouldn’t it be more convenient to place the answer to a problem next to the problem? And by this reasoning, it would be even more convenient—indeed, most convenient—to place the answer in the problem, that is, to weave the answer unobtrusively into the fabric of the problem itself! We’ll refer to problems that contain their own answers as self-answering.
Here are two examples of self-answering problems.
Problem 1.
How many ways can the letters in the word "six" be arranged?
Problem 2.
Rounded to the nearest ten million, how many ways can the letters in the word "ninety-million" be arranged?
See the September 2005 Issue of Math Horizons for more self-answering problems and their answers.
Readers are challenged to create their own self-answering mathematics problems and submit them to Math Horizons. E-mail your problem (and solution) to jquinn@oxy.edu---attachments of Word or LaTeX files are welcome. Alternately you may submit your questions directly using the form below. Entries received by November 15, 2005 are eligible to win! Winning submissions will appear in a future issue.
Last updated 17 September 2007