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Foundational Mathematics

Lecture 11 & 12

geometric sequences and series, their applications

This lecture and its associated materials have been produced by Dr. Wittaya Kanchanapusakit (PhD, Cambridge) of

iAcademy for the purposes of lecturing on the above described subject and the material should be viewed in this

context. The work does not constitute professional advice and no warranties are made regarding the information

presented. The Author and iAcademy do not accept any liability for the consequences of any action taken as a result

of the work or any recommendations made or inferred. Permission to use any of these materials must be first

granted by iAcademy.

iAcademy

iAcademy

Agenda

• Week 11 Lecture Material

❑ Sequences and series

❑ Arithmetic sequences

❑ Arithmetic series

❑ Applications

❑ Geometric sequences

❑ Geometric series

❑ Applications

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iAcademy

Introduction (1)

• We can unlock digital

lock by entering the

correct sequence of

numbers.

sequence of checks

before taking off.

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iAcademy

Introduction (2)

• For entertainment, we play game of Sequence

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Sequence: a list of numbers in a particular

order

• For example, if n is a natural number, the

function f(n) = 2n – 1 generates

f(1) = 2(1) – 1 = 1

f(2) = 2(2) – 1 = 3

f(3) = 2(3) – 1 = 5

f(n) = 2(n) – 1 = 2n – 1

And so on

We have sequence 1, 3, 5, ….. 2n – 1

iAcademy

iAcademy

• From the sequence

1, 3, 5, 7, …. 2n – 1

• The first term, denoted by a1, is 1

a1 = 1

• The second term, denoted by a2, is 3

a2 = 3

• The nth term, denoted by an, is 2n – 1

an = 2n – 1

• Expression an = 2n – 1 generates a1, a2, a3, …

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iAcademy

• Example: Find the first four terms of the

sequence with an = n2 + 1.

• Find a1 = (1)2 + 1 = 2

a2 = (2)2 + 1 = 5

a3 = (3)2 + 1 = 10

a4 = (4)2 + 1 = 17

• The sequence is 2, 5, 10, 17, …

• The list goes on.

⇒ Infinite sequence

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iAcademy

iAcademy

iAcademy

Recurrence Relation

• A sequence can be defined recursively.

• Giving its first term a1 and a rule showing how

to obtain the next term (recurrence relation)

• For example, given a1 = 5 (first term)

And an+1 = 3an – 2 (recurrence

relation)

n = 1:a2 = 3a1 – 2 = 3(5) – 2 = 13

n = 2:a3 = 3a2 – 2 = 3(13) – 2 = 37

n = 3:a4 = 3a2 – 2 = 3(37) – 2 = 109

• Sequence 5, 13, 37, 109, …

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Find the first 5 terms of the sequence whose

nth term is an = n2 – n

a1 = 12 – 1 = 0

a2 = 22 – 2 = 2

a3 = 32 – 3 = 6

a4 = 42 – 4 = 12

a5 = 52 – 5 = 20

Sequence is 0, 2, 6, 12, 20, …

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Consider a sequence

1, 3, 5, 7, 9, …., 2n – 1

• We can replace the comma between terms with

a + sign to add terms.

• The result is series

1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 + ….. + (2n – 1)

• Series is the sum of terms in the sequence.

• For infinite sequence, the number of terms in

the series is also infinite.

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Consider a sequence with an = n2

Sequence: 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, … (infinite sequence)

Series: 1 + 4 + 9 + 16 + 25 + …

• If a sequence is finite, the number of term in the

series is also finite.

• Consider

Sequence: 3, 7, 11, 15 (finite

sequence)

Series: 3 + 7 + 11 + 15

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iAcademy

Alternating Series

• Consider an = (-1)n 3n

Sequence: -3, 6, -9, 12, - 15, …

Series: – 3 + 6 – 9 +12 – 15 + …

• If the sign between successive terms in a series

alternate, the series is called an alternating

series.

• Another example of alternating series:

The nth term is an = (-1)n 2n

The series is -2 + 4 - 8 + 16 - …

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iAcademy

• Summation notation is a shorthand way to

indicate the sum of the first n terms.

• For example,

• Let, an = (2n + 1)

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iAcademy

• Example: Evaluate

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iAcademy

• In summation, n does not always start from n = 1.

• Consider

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Summation of a Constant

• Consider an = constant

For example, an = 4

The sequence is 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, …. (every term is

4)

Series is 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + …

• Then,

• If c is a constant,

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Evaluate

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Evaluate

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Consider the following sequence:

2, 7, 12, 17, 22, …

+5 +5 +5 +5

• We add 5 to each term to obtain the next term.

⇒ Increasing sequence

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iAcademy

• Consider the following sequence:

20, 17, 14, 11, 8, …

-3 -3 -3 -3

• We add - 3 to each term to obtain the next term.

⇒ Decreasing sequence

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iAcademy

• The above examples are arithmetic sequences.

• An arithmetic sequence is of the form

a, a + d, a + 2d, a + 3d, … a + (n-1)d

+d +d +d +d

term and d is the common difference.

• Arithmetic sequence

an = a + (n – 1)d

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iAcademy

• If common difference d is positive

⇒ Increasing sequence

E.g. 4, 12, 20, 28, 36, … (d = 8)

• If common difference d is negative

⇒ Decreasing sequence

E.g. 7, 3, -1, -5, -9, … (d = - 4)

• Common difference :

(Any term - the term before) in arithmetic seq.

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iAcademy

• Example: Write the first 3 terms and the 21st

term of an arithmetic sequence with a first term

of 7 and a common difference of 5.

• Know that a = 7 and d = 5.

The sequence is 7, 12, 17, …

• From an = a + (n – 1)d

= 7 + (n – 1)5

Substitute n = 21 to get

a21 = 7 + (20)(5) = 107

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Write the first five terms and the 18th term of

an arithmetic sequence with a first term of 3

and a common difference of 6.

We know that a = 3 and d = 6

Sequence is 3, 9, 15, 21, 27, … ( 5

terms)

From an = a + (n – 1)d

a18 = 3 + (18 – 1)(6)

= 105

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

The first three terms of an arithmetic sequence

are 3, 8 and 13. Find the 50th term.

Arithmetic sequence is 3, 8, 13, ….

⇒ first term a = 3

⇒ common difference d = 5

From an = a + (n – 1)d

a50 = 3 + (50 – 1)(5)

= 248

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Numbers inserted between a first and last term

to form a segment of an arithmetic sequence

are call arithmetic means.

• Consider 4, ___, ___, ___, 16

• We can add three numbers 7, 10, 13 in between

to make an arithmetic sequence (d = 3).

• Hence, we have arithmetic sequence

4, 7, 10, 13, 16

Arithmetic means

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iAcademy

• Example: Insert three arithmetic means between

-5 and 19

• Write -5, __, __, __, 19

+d +d +d +d

• Hence, we have -5 + 4d = 19

d = 6

• The three arithmetic means are 1, 7, 13

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Insert two arithmetic means between 10 and 20.

Write 10, __, __, 20

+d +d +d

Hence, 10 + 3d = 20

3d = 10

d = 10/3

Arithmetic means are 40/3 and 50/3

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Recall that series is just adding terms in the

sequence.

• Consider an arithmetic sequence

a, a + d, a + 2d, a + 3d, …. a + (n – 1)d

• We can find arithmetic series by adding all

terms:

a + (a + d) + (a + 2d) + (a + 3d) + … [a + (n –

1)d]

• For small n, we can add by hand. How about if

we have large n?

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iAcademy

• We want to find the sum of the first nth terms

in an arithmetic series,

a + a2 + a3 + … an

• Use the formula

First term

Sum of n terms Last term

Number of terms

required

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iAcademy

• Example: Find the sum of the first 30 terms of

the arithmetic series 5 + 8 + 11 + ….

• Here, first term a = 5, common difference d = 3

number of terms required n = 30

last term in the series

a30 = a + (30 – 1)d = 5 + 29(3) = 92

• Find the sum 5 + 8 + 11 + … 92 (30 terms)

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Find the sum of the first 50 terms of the

arithmetic series -2 + 5 + 12 + …

a = -2, d = 7, n = 50

From an = a + (n – 1)d

a50 = -2 + (50 – 1)(7) = 341

Sum -2 + 5 + 12 + … + 341 (50 terms)

S50 = (50)(-2 + 341)/2

= 8475

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Find the sum of the first 1,000 natural numbers.

Note that a = 1, d = 1, n = 1000 and an =

1000

Formula

Therefore

iAcademy

iAcademy

Problems

• Arithmetic sequence and series appear in many

problems and applications.

• Examples are

❑ Saving money

❑ Pile of logs

❑ Falling object

❑ Sales

❑ Paying Loans

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iAcademy

Saving Money

• Example: A student deposits $50 in a

non-interest-bearing account and plans to add

$7 a week. How much will she have in the

account one year after her first deposit?

• Arithmetic sequence 50, 57, 64, 71, …

Identify a = 50, d = 7

• The amount of money after one year is a52

an = a + (n – 1)d

a52 = 50 + (52 – 1)(7)

= 407

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iAcademy

Pile of Logs

• Example: Several logs are stored in a pile with

20 logs on the bottom layer, 19 on the second

layer, 18 on the third layer and so on. If the top

layer has one log, how many logs are in the pile?

• The number of logs are 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + … + 20

• First term a = 1, last term a20 = 20, n = 20

• Evaluate S20 = (20)(1 + 20)/2

= 210

• There are 210 logs in the pile.

iAcademy

iAcademy

Sales

• Example: The year it incorporated, a company

had sales of $237,500. Its sales were expected to

increase by $150,000 annually for the next several

years. If the forecast was correct, what will sales

be in 10 years?

• Arithmetic sequence

a = 237,500, d = 150,000, a10 = ?

• Use formula an = a + (n – 1)d

a10 = 237500 + (10 –

1)(150000)

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Example: A factory owner repays his loan

of $2,088,000 by $20,000 in the first monthly

installment and then increases the payment by

$1,000 in every installment. In how many

installments he will clear his loan?

• Find sum of payments after n installment

a = 20,000

d = 1000

an = a + (n – 1)d

Sn = 2,088,000

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iAcademy

• Formula

• Substitute values

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iAcademy

• Hence we have,

• Factoring

• The owner will clear his loan in 48 monthly

installments

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Romeo makes $12 for his first hour of work, $19

for his second hour of work, $26 for his third

hour of work and so on. How much money will

he have earned after 20 hours of work?

an = a + (n – 1)d

a20 = 12 + (20 – 1)(7)

= 145

S20 = (20)(12 + 145)/2 = 1570

dollars

iAcademy

iAcademy

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Consider the following sequence:

3, 6, 12, 24, 48, …

x2 x2 x2 x2

• We multiply each term by 2 obtain the next term.

• This is an example of geometric sequence.

Each term, except the first, is found by

multiplying the preceding term by a

constant.

iAcademy

iAcademy

• A geometric sequence is a sequence of the form

a, ar, ar2, ar3, …, arn-1

st

1 term 2 nd

term nth term

ratio r.

• The nth term is given by

n-1

an = a r

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Example: Write the first four terms and the

15th term of the geometric sequence whose first

term is 4 and whose common ratio is 2.

• We know that a = 4 and r = 2

Write sequence

4, 8, 16, 32, ….

• From an = arn-1

a15 = 4(2)15-1

= 65,536

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Example: Find the eighth term of a geometric

sequence whose first three terms are 4, 2, and 1.

• The sequence is 4, 2, 1, …

We know that a = 4 and r = 1/2

• From an = arn-1

a8 = 4(1/2)8-1

= 4/27

= 22/27

= 2-5 = 1/32

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Example: Find the eighth term of the geometric

sequence whose second and forth term are 0.2

and 5. Assume that all terms are positive.

• We write a2 = ar = 0.2 (1)

a4 = ar3 = 5 (2)

• Take (2)/(1) ⇒ r2 = 5/0.2 = 25

r = 5

• Substitute r = 5 into (1) to obtain a = 1/25

• Find a8: a8 = ar7 = (1/25)(5)7 = 3125

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Common ratio r is a constant multiplying to any

term to obtain the next term.

• Consider the following geometric sequences:

3, 9, 27, 81, … r = 3

16, 8, 4, 2, 1, … r = 1/2

5, -5, 5, -5, 5, … r = -1

• We can find common ratio r by taking any term

divided by the term before.

• In a geometric sequence, r must be constant.

iAcademy

iAcademy

• We can use common ratio to test whether or

not a sequence is geometric.

• Are these geometric sequences?

1, 5, 25, 125, …

Yes with r = 5

4, 8, 12, 16, …

No, this is not geometric

sequence

3, 1, 1/3, 1/9, …

iAcademy

Yes with r = 1/3

iAcademy

• If common ratio r is positive, all terms in

geometric sequence have the same sign.

For example, a = 5 and r = 2

Sequence is 5, 10, 20, 40, …. (all

positive)

• If common ratio r is negative, terms in

geometric sequence have alternating sign.

For example, a = 4 and r = -2

Sequence is 4, -8, 16, -32, …

⇒ Alternating sequence

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Write the first five terms and the 10th term of

the geometric sequence whose first term is 2

and whose common ratio is 3.

We know that a = 2 and r = 3

The sequence is

2, 6, 18, 54, 162, ….

From an = arn-1

a10 = 2(3)10-1 = 39366

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Find the 9th term of a geometric sequence

whose first three terms are 3, -3/2 and 3/4.

We know that a = 3

Find r by taking ratio

Hence, r = -1/2

Formulaan = arn-1

a9 = 3(-1/2)9-1 = 3/256

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Find the fifth term of a geometric sequence whose

second term is 6 and whose third term is -18.

Second term: ar = 6 (1)

Third term: ar2 = -18 (2)

Take (2)/(1) r = -3

Substitute r = -3 into (1), we get a = -2

Find a5 a5 = ar4

= (-2)(-3)4 = -162

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Numbers inserted between a first and last term

to form a segment of a geometric sequence are

called geometric means.

• For example, we want to insert two geometric

means between 4 and 256.

4, __, __, 256

r r r

iAcademy

iAcademy

• From equation 4r3 = 256

• We have r3 = 64

r = 4

• Sequence 4, __, __, 256

r r r

• The two geometric means between 4 and 256 are

16 and 64.

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Insert the two geometric means between -3

and 192

Write -3, __, __, 192

r r r

Therefore, -3r3 = 192

r3 = -64

r = -4

Two geometric means are 12 and - 48

iAcademy

iAcademy

• A sequence starts with a first term a.

• Create an arithmetic sequence by adding

common difference d and geometric sequence

by multiplying common ratio r.

• For example, let a = 4

If d = 3, we have arithmetic sequence

4, 7, 10, 13, …

If r = 3, we have geometric sequence

4, 12, 36, 108, …

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Try this by yourself.

Identify whether the following sequences

are arithmetic, geometric or neither.

a) 2, 10, 50, 250, … Geometric, r = 5

b) -6, 0, 6, 12, … Arithmetic, d = 6

c) 16, 4, 1, 1/4, … Geometric, r = 1/4

d) 1, -3, 5, -7, … Neither

e) 6, 2, -2, -6, … Arithmetic, d = - 4

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Consider a geometric sequence

4, 8, 16, 32, …

• If we replace comma between terms by a + sign,

we get a geometric series

4 + 8 + 16 + 32 + …

• In general, the geometric series takes the form

a, ar, ar2, ar3, … , arn-1, …

• The sum of the first nth term of a geometric series

a + ar + ar2 + ar3 + … + arn-1

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Let Sn denote the sum of the first n terms.

• For example, consider geometric series

2 + 8 + 32 + 96 + ….

We find S2 = 2 + 8 = 10

S3 = 2 + 8 + 32 = 42

S4 = 2 + 8 + 32 + 96 = 138

• How about the sum of the first 15 terms?

Use formula

iAcademy

iAcademy

• To find the sum of the first n terms in a geometric

series we use formula

or

a is the first term in the series

r is common ratio

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Example: Find the sum of the first 6 terms of

the geometric series 8 + 4 + 2 + …

• We know a = 8, r = 1/2 and want to find S6

• Use formula

• Hence,

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Find the sum of the first eight terms of the

geometric series 1/3, 1, 3, …

a = 1/3 and r = 3, find S8

Formula

Therefore,

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

The sum of the first n terms in a geometric

series is 381. If the first term is 3, and common

ratio is 2, find n.

We know that Sn = 381, a = 3, r = 2. Find

n

⇒ n = 7

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Infinite geometric series

a + ar + ar2 + …

• For example, a = 1 and r = 2, we have

1 + 2 + 4 +…

The result of the sum is infinity.

• The infinite sum, denoted by S, is given by

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Consider formula

geometric series.

It is valid only when – 1 < r < 1

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Example: Find the sum of infinite geometric

series 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + …

• Note that a = 1 and r = 1/2 (-1 < r < 1/2)

• Find S

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

Consider an infinite geometric sequence

6, – 2, 2/3, – 2/9, 2/27 - ….

Find the sum of all terms in this sequence.

Note that a = 6 and r = -1/3

Find the sum S

iAcademy

iAcademy

• A town with population

3,500 people has growth

rate of 6% per year for

the next 20 years.

population 20 years

from now?

iAcademy

iAcademy

• We have a geometric sequence with

a = 3500 and r = 1.06

Now population 3500

After year 1 population 3500(1.06)

After year 2 population 3500(1.06)2

After year 3 population 3500(1.06)3

After year 20 population

3000(1.06)20

• Hence, after 20 years, population is

20

iAcademy a = 3000(1.06) ≈ 11,225

iAcademy

• A ball is thrown up and its maximum height is 12

foot roof. It falls to ground and bounces two

thirds as high on each successive bounce.

travel, including all the bounces

iAcademy

iAcademy

• Analyze the problem

12

12(2/3)

12(2/3)2

iAcademy

iAcademy

• The total vertical distance is

and downward distance.

• In square brackets, a = 12 and r = 2/3

iAcademy

iAcademy

Try this by yourself.

At the end of the year 2000, world oil reserves

were about 1000 billion barrels. During 2000,

about 27 billion barrels of oil were consumed.

Over the past decade, oil consumption has been

increasing at about 1% a year. Assuming oil

consumption increases at this rate in the future,

how long will reserves last?

iAcademy

iAcademy

The amount of oil used (billion) each year forms

sequence

27, 27(1.01), 27(1.01)2 , …. ,

27(1.01)n-1

Find n when total used Sn = 1000

iAcademy

iAcademy

iAcademy

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