2003 AMC 10A Problems/Problem 23


A large equilateral triangle is constructed by using toothpicks to create rows of small equilateral triangles. For example, in the figure, we have $3$ rows of small congruent equilateral triangles, with $5$ small triangles in the base row. How many toothpicks would be needed to construct a large equilateral triangle if the base row of the triangle consists of $2003$ small equilateral triangles?

[asy] unitsize(15mm); defaultpen(linewidth(.8pt)+fontsize(8pt)); pair Ap=(0,0), Bp=(1,0), Cp=(2,0), Dp=(3,0), Gp=dir(60); pair Fp=shift(Gp)*Bp, Ep=shift(Gp)*Cp; pair Hp=shift(Gp)*Gp, Ip=shift(Gp)*Fp; pair Jp=shift(Gp)*Hp; pair[] points={Ap,Bp,Cp,Dp,Ep,Fp,Gp,Hp,Ip,Jp}; draw(Ap--Dp--Jp--cycle); draw(Gp--Bp--Ip--Hp--Cp--Ep--cycle); for(pair p : points) { fill(circle(p, 0.07),white); } pair[] Cn=new pair[5]; Cn[0]=centroid(Ap,Bp,Gp); Cn[1]=centroid(Gp,Bp,Fp); Cn[2]=centroid(Bp,Fp,Cp); Cn[3]=centroid(Cp,Fp,Ep); Cn[4]=centroid(Cp,Ep,Dp); label("$1$",Cn[0]); label("$2$",Cn[1]); label("$3$",Cn[2]); label("$4$",Cn[3]); label("$5$",Cn[4]); for (pair p : Cn) { draw(circle(p,0.1)); }[/asy] $\mathrm{(A) \ } 1,004,004 \qquad \mathrm{(B) \ } 1,005,006 \qquad \mathrm{(C) \ } 1,507,509 \qquad \mathrm{(D) \ } 3,015,018 \qquad \mathrm{(E) \ } 6,021,018$


Solution 1

There are $1+3+5+...+2003=1002^{2}=1004004$ small equilateral triangles.

Each small equilateral triangle needs $3$ toothpicks to make it.

But, each toothpick that isn't one of the $1002\cdot3=3006$ toothpicks on the outside of the large equilateral triangle is a side for $2$ small equilateral triangles.

So, the number of toothpicks on the inside of the large equilateral triangle is $\frac{10040004\cdot3-3006}{2}=1504503$

Therefore the total number of toothpicks is $1504503+3006=\boxed{\mathrm{(C)}\ 1,507,509}$

Solution 2

We see that the bottom row of $2003$ small triangles are formed from $1002$ upward-facing triangles and $1001$ downward-facing triangles. Since each upward-facing triangle uses three distinct toothpicks, and since the total number of upward-facing triangles is $1002+1001+...+1=\frac{1003\cdot1002}{2}=502503$, we have that the total number of toothpicks is $3\cdot 502503=\boxed{\mathrm{(C)}\ 1,507,509}$

Solution 3

Experimenting a bit we find that the number of toothpicks needs a triangle with $1$, $2$ and $3$ rows is $1\cdot{3}$, $3\cdot{3}$ and $6\cdot{3}$ respectively. Since $1$, $3$ and $6$ are triangular numbers we know that depending on how many rows there are in the triangle, the number we multiply by $3$ to find total no.toothpicks is the corresponding triangular number. Since the triangle in question has $2n-1=2003\implies{n=1002}$ rows, we can use $\frac{n(n+1)}{2}$ to find the triangular number for that row and multiply by $3$, hence finding the total no.toothpicks; this is just $\frac{3\cdot{1002}\cdot{1003}}{2}=3\cdot{501}\cdot{1003}=\boxed{\mathrm{(C)}\ 1,507,509}$.


In the final step of the problem, we know that the units digit of the answer must $9$, so the only answer choice applicable must be $\boxed{\mathrm{(C)}\ 1,507,509}$. This saves you the time it takes to compute $3\cdot{501}\cdot{1003}$.

Alternatively, we can note that $\frac{3}{2}\cdot{1002}\cdot{1003}\approx 1.5 \cdot 1,000,000 = 1,500,000 \approx \boxed{\mathrm{(C)}\ 1,507,509}$. ~ dolphin7

See Also

2003 AMC 10A (ProblemsAnswer KeyResources)
Preceded by
Problem 22
Followed by
Problem 24
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All AMC 10 Problems and Solutions

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