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Recursively Defined Functions (Sequences)

This PG code shows how to check student answers that are recursively defined functions.

Problem Techniques Index

PG problem file Explanation

Initialization: We will be defining a new named function and adding it to the context, and the easiest way to do this is using There is a more basic way to add functions to the context, which is explained in example 2 at AddingFunctions

parserFunction(f => "sin(pi^n)+e");

$fn = Formula("3 f(n-1) + 2");

Setup: We define a new named function f as something the student is unlikely to guess. The named function f is, in some sense, just a placeholder since the student will enter expressions involving f(n-1), WeBWorK will interpret it internally as sin(pi^(n-1))+e, and the only thing the student sees is f(n-1). If the recursion has an closed-form solution (e.g., the Fibonacci numbers are given by f(n) = (a^n - (1-a)^n)/sqrt(5) where a = (1+sqrt(5))/2) and you want to allows students to enter the closed-form solution, it would be good to define f using that explicit solution in case the student tries to answer the question by writing out the explicit solution (a^n - (1-a)^n)/sqrt(5) instead of using the shorthand f(n).

The current value \( f(n) \) is three 
times the previous value, plus two.  Find
a recursive definition for \( f(n) \).  
Enter \( f_{n-1} \) as \( f(n-1) \).
\( f(n) \) = \{ ans_rule(20) \} 

Main Text: The problem text section of the file is as we'd expect. We should tell students to use function notation rather than subscript notation so that they aren't confused about syntax.


ANS( $fn->cmp() );


Answer Evaluation: As is the answer.

Problem Techniques Index