Math question of the week, week 8

Continuing a little bit on last week's theme. Let's consider two different situations:

a) Consider the expression 2/x. Can you make 2/x to be any number (any real number), if you just choose the right x?

In other words, if we write an equation

2/x = a

and I choose all kinds of different numbers to be a, can you always find the x, no matter what I might choose a to be?

If your algebra is rusty, or this problem feels difficult, try it out with 'easy numbers first': make a to be 2, 1, 4, etc. easy numbers and find x. Then figure out how to find x for more complex situations.

(This is actually a very general problem solving strategy: if the original problem is difficult, first try to solve a related easier problem.)

b) Same for the equation x2 = a.


And lastly, a NOTE to all parents reading this (not to you college professors): please write in the comments section, or email me if you feel this blogpost was over the top of your head, or was way too easy, or not relevant or interesting. I'd like to know.

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