Smart Weights A Starter Problem:
A box contains weights of size 1 , 2 , 4 , 8 and 16 ounces. Show
how to use different combinations of these weights to measure any integer weight
from 1 ounce upwards. How
far can you get with these 5 weights ? New Idea: Traditionally,
in a ‘balanced pan’ weighing machine, the quantity of food to be measured
goes in one pan, while the standard weights go in the other, until the two
balance. Your calculations have been for this kind of machine. A
small adaptation involves putting a hook beneath the ‘food’ pan, so that
weights may be placed on either side of the balance. This
enables one to use subtraction of weights, as well as addition…
For
example, one could use weights of 1 oz and 3 oz to measure 2 oz of food, by
placing the 1 oz with the food, and the 3 oz in the opposite pan. The
pans will balance when there is exactly 2 oz of food together with the 1 oz
weight, balancing the 3 oz in the other pan. We
can write this as 2 = 3 – 1 ! So
far, so good. The Problem Itself:
You’ve
probably discovered that you could get further using only four weights,
and a hook, than you did with a set of five weights , using the normal
'balance pan' approach. Open the File as a Word Document

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