Maths Workshop.




Introduction to the game


Systematic experimentation

Scientific implications

Other configuration patterns


The Game of Life

This unit consists of activities to be carried out as part of the Maths Workshop (Compulsory Secondary Education) within the Mathematics Models module. It focuses specifically on "Simulation as a formal model".

Most of the ideas and content of this unit have been taken from the last three units of Martin Gardner's book "Wheels. Life and other Mathematical Amusements". (W.H. Freeman and Company 1983), which specifically focus on the Game of Life.

This unit uses a simple game to simulate social or biological behaviour based on a simple mathematical model Despite its simplicity, we shall look in more detail at its far reaching implications.

Furthermore, the way the game actually works provides a useful example for thinking about problems, working out how to solve them, looking for strategies and how solutions to some problems can give rise to further problems and new ways of approaching them.

We trust you will enjoy playing this simple yet wonderful game.

  • To produce a simple, abstract mathematical model which can simulate a "quasi-real" situation.
  • Discover how simple rules and game structure can give rise to incredibly complex, unexpected results.
  • Discover how the model under study can be related to other fields of knowledge.
  • Learn how to carry out a systematic study on a mathematical model in order to make conclusions about it.
  • To enjoy working with this little wonder.

  José Luis Alonso Borrego
Spanish Ministry of Education. Year 2001

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