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GRADE 10|MATHEMATICS

UNIT 2

To prepare for their revolution against the Spanish, Andres Bonifacio recruited members of the

Katipunan by requiring each new member to enlist two others who did not know each other. If we

assume that each new member succeeds in doing this task, the numbers of the Katipunan will double

every week. This is an example of a geometric sequence, which we will study in this unit.

Objectives

Illustrate a geometric sequence.

Differentiate an arithmetic sequence from a geometric sequence.

Differentiate a finite geometric sequence from an infinite geometric sequence.

Determine the geometric means and the nth term of a geometric sequence.

Find the sum of the terms of a given finite or infinite geometric sequence.

I. Geometric Sequence

A geometric sequence (also known as a geometric progression) is a sequence where each term

after the first is obtained by multiplying the preceding term by a constant. This constant is known

as the common ratio and is denoted by r.

Example 1:

In the sequence 3,6,12,24,48,.... , each term is doubled to obtain the succeeding term. Thus, the

common ratio of this sequence is 2.

Unlike those in an arithmetic sequence, the terms in a geometric sequence do not share a

common difference.

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STUDY GUIDE

terms are always the same. Thus, if an and an+ 1 are consecutive terms of a geometric

sequence, the formula for the common ratio r of that sequence is

a n+1

r= .

a

n

12 48

In the given sequence in Example 1, can you verify if 6 = 24 ?

The general term an of a geometric sequence follows the formula

an = a1 rn-1

where n is the order of the term and a1 is the first term. For instance, you may verify that the

fourth term of the sequence shown in Example 1 is equal to

a4 = 3 (2)4 -1

Example 2:

Consider the geometric sequence

1 1 1

1, , , ,...

248

Write a formula that describes it.

Solution:

1

Step 1: Find the common ratio of the sequence. If we use the consecutive terms 1 and ,

then r is calculated as follows: 2 4

1

a

r = n +1 = 4 = 1 2 = 1

an 1 4 2

2

Step 2: Use the formula for the general term.

a = a rn-1

n 1

1 n-1

an = (1)

2

a = 1 n-1

n

2

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STUDY GUIDE

We may also obtain the first few terms of a geometric sequence if its general term is given.

Consider the next example.

Example 3:

Write the first four terms of the sequence defined by the rule

n

a = 2 - 1 n-1

2

Solution:

Substituting n = 1 , n = 2, n = 3 , and n = 4 into the given formula results in the following:

1 1 -1 1 0

a1 = 2 - =2 - = 2 (1 ) = 2

2 2

1 2 -1 11 1

a2 = 2 - =2 - = 2- = -1

2 2 2

1 3 -1 12 1 1

a3 = 2 - =2 - =2 =

2 2 4 2

1 4 -1 13 1 1

a4 = 2 - =2 - = 2- =-

2 2 8 4

1 1

Therefore, the first four terms of the sequence are 2, -1, , and .

2 4

To find the nth term in a geometric sequence, we use the formula for the general term of a

geometric sequence which is

an = a1 rn-1

For example, we can find the sixth term a6 in the sequence 3, -6,12, -24,... by determining the

common ratio r. This can be done by dividing a given term by the term that comes before it:

a

r= n+1

an

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STUDY GUIDE

-6 12 12

If we substitute the consecutive terms and , we obtain r = = -2. We can now use the

-6

formula for the general term to solve for a6 :

a6 = a1 r6 -1

a6 = 3 (-2)5

a6 = 3 (-32)

a6 = -96

Any term of a geometric sequence that appears between two other terms is known as a

geometric mean of those terms.

Example 1:

In the geometric sequence

5,15,45,225,...

15 is the geometric mean of 5 and 45;

45 is the geometric mean of 15 and 225; and

15 and 45 are the geometric means of 5 and 225.

Unlike an arithmetic mean, a geometric mean is not the average of the given terms. Thus, we

need to solve for r to find missing geometric means.

Example 2:

Find the two geometric means between 2 and 1024, as in the sequence 2,

_____, _____, 1024

Solution:

Step 1: Find the common ratio r by substituting a1 = 2 and a4 = 1024

a4 = a1 r3

1024 = 2r3

512 = r3

r=8

Step 2: Complete the sequence.

2 16 128 1024

8 8 8

Therefore, the two geometric means between 2 and 1024 are 16 and 128.

4

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STUDY GUIDE

A geometric sequence with first term a1 and common ratio r follows the general rule

an = a1 rn-1

and the first n terms of this sequence are written as

a1 , a1 r , a1 r2 , a1 r3 , a1 r4 , ..., a1 rn

A geometric series is an expression formed by adding the terms of a geometric sequence,

written as

n 1 1 1 n

In other words, a geometric series refers to the sum of all n terms of a geometric sequence.

Interestingly, if both sides of this equation are multiplied by r, then the equation will become

r

S = a r + a r 2 + a r 3 + ... + a rn (Eq. 2)

n 1 1 1 n

Notice that the number of terms on the right-hand side remains unchanged. Also, most of

the terms appear in both equations, except for a1 and a1 rn . Subtracting (2) from (1) results in

the following:

S n = a1 + a1 r + a1 r 2 + ... + an rn-1 -rS

n = a1 r + a1 r 2 + a1 r 3 + ... + an rn

S n - rS n = a1 - a1 rn S

n (1 - r ) = a1 (1 - rn )

a - 1 - rn

Sn = 1 ( )

1-r

The last equation is the general rule for any finite geometric series Sn (the sum of the first n

terms) provided that r 1 . This restriction is included because the denominator of the general

rule becomes zero when r = 1 , and we cannot divide by zero.

Example:

Find the sixth partial sum of the geometric series 1 + 5 + 25 + 125 + ...

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STUDY GUIDE

Solution:

The given information in the problem are n = 6 , a1 = 1 , and r = 5 . Substituting these into the

general rule for finite geometric series yields

a 1 - rn

Sn = 1( r )

1-

1 (1 - 56 )

S=

n 1-5

Sn = -15624

-4

Sn = 3906

Note that the given series in this example may be written in sigma notation as

6

5n-1

n=1

Using the same example, can you find S9 ? Express this in sigma notation.

It is said that an average person can only fold a piece of paper in half up to seven times,

regardless of the size of the paper used. Each time the paper is folded, its thickness doubles,

and it takes more energy to do the next fold.

Now imagine you have a very large piece of paper 0.1 mm thick, and you can fold it as many

times as you want. You might be surprised to find out that

28 folds will take you higher than Mt. Everest;

42 folds will get you to the Moon;

51 folds and you would have reached the Sun; and

103 folds are all it takes to get outside of the universe!

As you can see, terms of geometric sequences could get incredibly large or small in just a couple

of steps. Unlike in arithmetic sequences, the difference between consecutive terms in a

geometric sequence increases exponentially.

a 1 - rn

Sn = 1( r )

1-

of an arithmetic series as the number of terms in it becomes infinitely many, that is, as the

value of n approaches infinity (represented by the symbol ).

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STUDY GUIDE

If r 1 , then rn becomes too big that no sum can be evaluated. Thus, we say that the series is

divergent.

However, if r < 1 , the resulting sums become interesting as n increases. Consider r = 1 and

observe what happens. 2

8

1

0.00390625

2

9

1

0.001953125

2

1 20

0.0009765625

2

1 10

0.00000095367

2

1 30

0.00000000093

2

Note that as n increases to a very large value, rn approaches a very small value that

eventually becomes negligible or zero. With rn = 0 , the infinite geometric series will then be

convergent to the value

a

S= 1

1-r

Example:

Find the sum of the terms of the infinite geometric sequence

1 1 1

1 , , , ,...

2 4 8 16

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STUDY GUIDE

Solution:

Applying the rule for infinite geometric series, the sum is

a1

S = 1- r

1

S= 2

1- 1

2

1

S= 2

1

2

S=1

In this example, the infinite series can be written as

n

1

n=1 2

Can you find the sum of the infinite series 1 + 1 + 1 + ... ? Express the sum in sigma notation.

3 9 27

Learning Tasks

1. Paper Folding

How many times can you fold a sheet of paper in half without tearing it? Can you go

beyond seven folds? Measure the thickness of the paper from the third fold onwards.

2. Half of Half of Half of Half

Shown below are two identical squares, where the second one is divided into parts.

a. Label the other sections of the second square with their respective areas. Assume that

the figure is drawn to scale. Evaluate the resulting infinite series to find the total area of

the square.

b. Can you find a way to divide the first square into sections that have the same area as

those in the second square without making any rectangular sections?

8

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STUDY GUIDE

Would you believe it if someone told you that 0.999... is equal to 1? In the equations below,

notice that the expression in parentheses is an infinite geometric series. Write its terms in

fraction form, then evaluate the series and simplify the equation. Write the sum in sigma

notation as well.

0.999... = 0.9 + 0.09 + 0.009 + 0.0009 + ...

0.999... = 9 (0.1 + 0.01 + 0.001 + 0.0001 + ...)

Examples

Questions

1. Find the first term of a geometric sequence whose fourth term is 8 and whose common

1

ratio is .

2

1

2. Insert two geometric means between and 54.

4

3. Find the sum of the series

12

4. 3 (-2)n-1

n=1

9

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STUDY GUIDE

Answers:

1

1. Let a4 = 8 and r = 2 . Using the formula for the nth term of a geometric sequence, we

have

an = a1 rn-1

3

1

8 = a1

2

64 = a1

2. Let a1 = 1 and a4 = 54 . We solve for r using the formula for the nth term:

4

a = a rn-1

n 1

54= 1 r4 -1

4

216= r3

6= r

The terms of the sequence are 1 , 3 ,9,54 . Therefore, the two geometric means are 3

42 2

and 9.

3. The sum of the given series is equal to S12 , where TIPS

, r = -2 , and n = 12 . Substituting these

intoa=3

1 Pay attention to the sign of

the formula for geometric series results in

the common ratio.

a 1 (1 - r n )

Sn =

1-r

3 ( 1 - ( -2)

12

S )

12 = 1 - ( -2)

S 3 (1- 4096)

12 = 3

S

12 = -4095

10

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STUDY GUIDE

Wrap Up

NUMBERS

The following formulas are useful

in finding terms (and sums of

terms) of geometric sequences:

NOT A no WITH

PATTERN? a = a rn-1

SEQUENCE n 1

a

1

S= , where r < 1

yes 1-

r

NOT AN no

COMMON S a1 (1 - rn )

GEOMETRIC n=

RATIO? 1-r

SEQUENCE

where an is the nth term, a1 is the

yes first term, r is the common ratio,

Sn is the nth partial sum, and S is

GEOMETRIC the sum. Note that r 1 must be

SEQUENCE met for the sums to be valid.

Bibliography

Geometric Sequences and Series, accessed January 9, 2017, http://www.mhhe.com/math/

devmath/dugopolski/inter/student/olc/graphics/dugopolski03ia_s/ch12/others/ch12-4.pdf

Geometric Sequences and Series, accessed January 9, 2017, http://www.hec.ca/en/cam/

help/topics/geometric_sequences_and_series.pdf

How to Calculate Geometric Mean, accessed January 9, 2017, https://deq.mt.gov/

Portals/112/Water/wpb/WPBForms/pdf/Geometric-Mean.pdf

Geometric Series, accessed January 9, 2017, https://math.dartmouth.edu/archive/m8w10/

public_html/m8l05.pdf

11

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