Contemporary Mathematics

# 3.10Arithmetic Sequences

Contemporary Mathematics3.10 Arithmetic Sequences

## Learning Objectives

After completing this section, you should be able to:

1. Identify arithmetic sequences.
2. Find a given term in an arithmetic sequence.
3. Find the $nn$th term of an arithmetic sequence.
4. Find the sum of a finite arithmetic sequence.
5. Use arithmetic sequences to solve real- world applications

As we saw in the previous section, we are adding about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day to the Internet. If there are 550 quintillion bytes of data today, then there will be 552.5 quintillion bytes tomorrow, and 555 quintillion bytes in 2 days. This is an example of an arithmetic sequence. There are many situations where this concept of fixed increases comes into play, such as raises or table arrangements.

## Identifying Arithmetic Sequences

A sequence of numbers is just that, a list of numbers in order. It can be a short list, such as the number of points earned on each assignment in a class, such as {10, 10, 8, 9, 10, 6, 10}. Or it can be a longer list, even infinitely long, such as the list of prime numbers. For example, here’s a sequence of numbers, specifically, the squares of the first 12 natural numbers.

{1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81, 100, 121, 144}

Each value in the sequence is called a term. Terms in the list are often referred to by their location in the sequence, as in the $nn$th term. For the sequence {1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81, 100, 121, 144}, the first term of the sequence is 1, the fourth term is 16, and so on. In the sequence of assignment scores {10, 10, 8, 9, 10, 6, 10}, the first term is 10 and the third term is 8 (Figure 3.47).

Figure 3.47 Sequence showing first, second, and fifth terms

The notation we use with sequences is a letter, which represents a term in the sequence, and a subscript, which indicates what place the term is in the sequence. For the sequence {1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81, 100, 121, 144}, we will use the letter $aa$ as a value in the sequence, and so $a5a5$ would be the term in the sequence at the fifth position. That number is 25, so we can write $a5=25a5=25$.

In this section, we focus on a special kind of sequence, one referred to as an arithmetic sequence. Arithmetic sequences have terms that increase by a fixed number or decrease by a fixed number, called the constant difference (denoted by $dd$), provided that value is not 0. This means the next term is always the previous term plus or minus a specified, constant value. Another way to say this is that the difference between any consecutive terms of the sequence is always the same value.

To see a constant difference, look at the following sequence: {7, 15, 23, 31, 39, 47, 55, 63, 71, 79, 87}. Figure 3.48 illustrates that each term of the sequence is the previous term plus 8. Eight is the constant difference here.

Figure 3.48 Sequence of numbers with 8 added to each term

## Example 3.132

### Identifying Arithmetic Sequences

Determine if the following sequences are arithmetic sequences. Explain your reasoning.

1. ${4,7,10,13,16,19,22,25,...}{4,7,10,13,16,19,22,25,...}$
2. ${20,40,80,160,320,640}{20,40,80,160,320,640}$
3. ${7,1,−5,−11,−17,−23,−29,−34,−40}{7,1,−5,−11,−17,−23,−29,−34,−40}$

Determine if the following sequences are arithmetic sequences. Explain your reasoning.
1.
$\left\{ {7.6,5.4,3.2,1.0, - 1.2, - 3.4, - 5.6, - 7.8, - 10.0} \right\}$
2.
$\left\{ {14,16,18,22,28,40,32,0} \right\}$
3.
$\left\{ {14,20,26,32,38,44,50,56,62,68,74,80,...} \right\}$

Arithmetic sequences can be expressed with a formula. When we know the first term of an arithmetic sequence, which we label $a1a1$, and we know the constant difference, which is denoted $dd$, we can find any other term of the arithmetic sequence. The formula for the $ithith$ term of an arithmetic sequence is $ai=a1+d×(i−1)ai=a1+d×(i−1)$.

## FORMULA

If we have an arithmetic sequence with first term $a1a1$ and constant difference $dd$, then the $ithith$ term of the arithmetic sequence is $ai=a1+d×(i−1)ai=a1+d×(i−1)$.

Let’s examine the formula with this arithmetic sequence: ${4,7,10,13,16,19,22,25,...}{4,7,10,13,16,19,22,25,...}$. In this sequence $a1=4a1=4$ and $d=3d=3$. The table below shows the values calculated.

$ii$, Place in Sequence $aiai$, $ithith$ Term Value of Term Term Written as $a1+3×(i−1)a1+3×(i−1)$
1 $a1a1$ 4 $4+3×04+3×0$
2 $a2a2$ 7 $4+3×14+3×1$
3 $a3a3$ 10 $4+3×24+3×2$
4 $a4a4$ 13 $4+3×34+3×3$
5 $a5a5$ 16 $4+3×44+3×4$
$ii$ $aiai$ $4+3×(i−1)4+3×(i−1)$

We can see how the $ithith$ term can be directly calculated. In this sequence, the formula is $a1+3×(i−1)a1+3×(i−1)$ where the first term, $a1a1$, is 4 and the constant difference $dd$ is 3. We can then determine the $47th47th$ term of this sequence: $a47=4+3×(47−1)=4+3×46=4+138=142a47=4+3×(47−1)=4+3×46=4+138=142$.

## Example 3.133

### Calculating a Term in an Arithmetic Sequence

Identify $a1a1$ and $dd$ for the following arithmetic sequence. Use this information to determine the $60th60th$ term.

${18,31,44,57,70,83,...}{18,31,44,57,70,83,...}$

1.

Identify ${a_1}$ and $d$ for the following arithmetic sequence. Use this information to determine the $86\text{th}$ term.

$\left\{ {4.5,8.1,11.7,15.3,18.9,22.5,26.1,...} \right\}$

## Video

If we know two terms of the sequence, it is possible to determine the general form of an arithmetic sequence, $ai=a1+d×(i−1)ai=a1+d×(i−1)$.

## FORMULA

If we have the $ii$th term of an arithmetic sequence, $aiai$, and the $jj$th term of the sequence, $ajaj$, then the constant difference is $d=aj−aij−id=aj−aij−i$ and the first term of the sequence is $a1=ai−d(i−1)a1=ai−d(i−1)$.

## Example 3.134

### Determining First Term and Constant Difference Using Two Terms

A sequence is known to be arithmetic. Two of its terms are $a7=56a7=56$ and $a19=104a19=104$. Use that information to find the constant difference, the first term, and then the $50th50th$ term of the sequence.

1.
A sequence is known to be arithmetic. Two of the terms are ${a_{14}} = 41$ and ${a_{38}} = 161$ . Use that information to find the constant difference and the first term. Then determine the ${151\text{st}}$ term of the sequence.

## Finding the Sum of a Finite Arithmetic Sequence

Sometimes we want to determine the sum of the numbers of a finite arithmetic sequence. The formula for this is fairly straightforward.

## FORMULA

The sum of the first $nn$ terms of a finite arithmetic sequence, written $snsn$, with first and last term $a1a1$ and $anan$, respectively, is $sn=n(a1+an2)sn=n(a1+an2)$.

## Example 3.135

### Finding the Sum of a Finite Arithmetic Sequence

What is the sum of the first 60 terms of an arithmetic sequence with $a1=4.5a1=4.5$ and $d=2.5d=2.5$?

1.
What is the sum of the first 101 terms of an arithmetic sequence with ${a_1} = 13$ and $d = 2.25$?

## Using Arithmetic Sequences to Solve Real-World Applications

Applications of arithmetic sequences occur any time some quantity increases by a fixed amount at each step. For instance, suppose someone practices chess each week and increases the amount of time they study each week. The first week the person practices for 3 hours, and vows to practice 30 more minutes each week. Since the amount of time practicing increases by a fixed number each week, this would qualify as an arithmetic sequence.

## Example 3.136

### Applying an Arithmetic Sequence

Jordan has just watched The Queen’s Gambit and decided to hone their skills in chess. To really improve at the game, Jordan decides to practice for 3 hours the first week, and increase their time spent practicing by 30 minutes each week. How many hours will Jordan practice chess in week 20?

1.
Christina decides to save money for after graduation. Christina starts by setting aside $10. Each week, Christina increases the amount she saves by$5. How much money will Christina save in week 52?

## Example 3.137

### Finding the Sum of a Finite Arithmetic Sequence

Let’s check back in on Jordan. Recall, Jordan had just watched The Queen’s Gambit and decided to hone their skills, practicing for 3 hours the first week, and increasing the time spent practicing by 30 minutes each week. How many hours total will Jordan have practiced chess after 30 weeks of practice?

1.
In a theater, the first row has 24 seats. Each row after that has 2 more seats. How many total seats are there if there are 40 rows of seat in the theater?

## Who Knew?

### The Fibonacci Sequence

Not all sequences are arithmetic. One special sequence is the Fibonacci sequence, which is the sequence that has as its first two terms 1 and 1. Every term thereafter is the sum of the previous two terms. The first nine terms of the Fibonacci sequence are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and 34.

This sequence is found in nature, architecture, and even music! In nature, the Fibonacci sequence describes the spirals of sunflower seeds, certain galaxy spirals, and flower petals. In music, the band Tool used the Fibonacci sequence in the song “Lateralus.” The Fibonacci sequence even relates to architecture, as it is closely related to the golden ratio.

## Video

52.
Is the following an arithmetic sequence? Explain.
{3, 6, 9, 15, 25, 39, 90}
53.
What is the 7th term of the following sequence?
{1, 5, 7, 100, 4, -17, 8, 100, 19, 7.6, 345}
54.
In an arithmetic sequence, the first term is 10 and the constant difference is 4.5. What is the 135th term?
55.
If the eighth term of an arithmetic sequence is 35 and the 40th term is 131, what is the constant difference and the first term of the sequence?
56.
What is the sum of the first 100 terms of the arithmetic sequence with first term 4 and constant difference 7?
57.
A new marketing firm began with 30 people in its survey group. The firm adds 4 people per day. How many people will be in their survey group after 100 days?

## Section 3.10 Exercises

For the following exercises, determine if the sequence is an arithmetic sequence.
1 .
$\left\{ {3,7,11,15,25,100,...} \right\}$
2 .
$\left\{ {27,24,21,18,15,12,9,...} \right\}$
3 .
$\left\{ {6, - 1, - 8, - 15, - 23, - 31, - 39,...} \right\}$
4 .
$\left\{ { - 5,4,13,22,31,40,49,58,67,...} \right\}$
5 .
$\left\{ {14,19,24,29,34,50,60} \right\}$
6 .
$\left\{ {3.9,2.3,0.7, - 0.9, - 2.5, - 4.1, - 5.7,...} \right\}$
7 .
$\left\{ {4, - 8,12, - 16,20, - 24,28, - 32,...} \right\}$
8 .
$\left\{ {1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,...} \right\}$
For the following exercises, the sequences given are arithmetic sequences. Determine the constant difference for each sequence. Verify that each term is the previous term plus the constant difference.
9 .
$\left\{ {18,68,118,168,218,268,...} \right\}$
10 .
$\left\{ {13,35,57,79,101,123,145,167,...} \right\}$
11 .
$\left\{ {14,11,8,5,2, - 1, - 4,...} \right\}$
12 .
$\left\{ {4.5,1.9, - 0.7, - 3.3, - 5.9,...} \right\}$
13 .
$\left\{ { - 27, - 13,1,15,29,43,57,71,...} \right\}$
14 .
$\left\{ {3.8,10.6,17.4,24.2,31,37.8,44.6,...} \right\}$
For the following exercises, the first term and the constant difference of an arithmetic sequence is given. Using that information, determine the indicated term of the sequence.
15 .
${a_1} = 12$ , $d = 11$, find ${a_{20}}$ .
16 .
${b_1} = 5$, $d = 8$, find ${b_{38}}$ .
17 .
${c_1} = 48$ , $d = - 7$, find ${c_{50}}$ .
18 .
${a_1} = 110$, $d = - 16$, find ${a_{27}}$ .
19 .
${t_1} = 15.3$, $d = 4.2$, find ${t_{17}}$ .
20 .
${b_1} = 23.8$, $d = 11.7$, find ${b_{120}}$ .
21 .
${b_1} = 27.45$, $d = - 3.67$, find ${b_{40}}$.
22 .
${a_1} = 67.4$, $d = - 12.3$, find ${a_{200}}$ .
For the following exercises, two terms of an arithmetic sequence are given. Using that information, identify the first term and the constant difference.
23 .
${a_5} = 27$, ${a_{15}} = 77$
24 .
${b_{10}} = 47$, ${b_{25}} = 137$
25 .
${a_9} = 38$, ${a_{45}} = 189.2$
26 .
${a_6} = 43$, ${a_{41}} = - 377$
27 .
${a_4} = - 12.3$, ${a_{54}} = - 106.5$
28 .
${a_{12}} = 45.9$, ${a_{60}} = - 563.7$
For the following exercises, the first term and the constant difference is given for an arithmetic sequence. Use that information to find the sum of the first $n$ terms of the sequence, ${s_n}$.
29 .
${a_1} = 15$, $d = 7$ , calculate ${s_{10}}$
30 .
${a_1} = 2$, $d = 13$, calculate ${s_{20}}$ .
31 .
${a_1} = 105$, $d = 0.3$, calculate ${s_{15}}$ .
32 .
${a_1} = 56.2$, $d = 1.1$, calculate ${a_{35}}$ .
33 .
${a_1} = 450$, $d = - 20$, calculate ${s_{20}}$.
34 .
${a_1} = 1400$, $d = - 35$, calculate ${s_{40}}$ .
For the following exercises, apply your knowledge of arithmetic sequences to these real-world scenarios.
35 .
A collection is taken up to support a family in need. The initial amount in the collection is $135. Everyone places$20 in the collection. When the 35th person puts their $20 in the collection, how much is present in the collection? 36 . There are 50 songs on a playlist. Every minute, 3 more songs are added to the playlist. How many songs are on the playlist after 40 minutes have passed? 37 . One genre on Netflix has 1,000 shows. Every week, 20 shows are added to that genre. After 15 weeks, how many shows are in that genre? 38 . A new local band has 10 people come to their first show. News of the band spreads afterwards. Each week, 4 more people attend their show than the previous week. After 50 weeks, how many people are at their show? 39 . The Jester Comic book store is going out of business and is taking in no new inventory. Its inventory is currently 13,563 titles. Each day after, they sell or give away 250 titles. After 15 days, how many titles are left? 40 . Jasmyn has decided to train for a marathon. In week one, Jasmyn runs 5 miles. Each week, Jasmyn increased the running distance by 2 miles. How many miles will Jasmyn run in week 13 of the training schedule? 41 . A 42-gallon bathtub sits with 14 gallons in it. The faucet is turned on and is now being filled at the rate of 2.2 gallons per minute, but is draining slowly, at 1.8 gallons per minute. After 20 minutes, how many gallons are in the tub? 42 . A trained diver is 250 feet deep. The diver is nearly out of air and needs to surface. However, the diver can only comfortably ascend 30 feet per minute. How deep is the diver after ascending for 5 minutes? 43 . Jaclyn, an investor, begins a start-up to revitalize homes in South Bend, Indiana. She begins with$10,000, making her investor 1. Each investor that joins will invest $500 more than the previous investor. How much does the 50th investor invest in the project? With that 50th investor, what is the total amount invested in the project? 44 . Jasmyn has decided to train for a marathon. In week one, Jasmyn runs 5 miles. Each week, Jasmyn increased the running distance by 2 miles. After training for 14 weeks, how many total miles will Jasmyn have run? 45 . The base of a pyramidal structure has 144 blocks. Each level above has 5 fewer blocks than the previous level. How many total blocks are there if the pyramidal structure has 25 levels? 46 . As part of a deal, a friend tells you they will give you$10 on day 1, $20 on day 2,$30 on day 3, for all 30 days of a month. At the end of that month, what is the total amount your friend has given you?