## Some Strange Circles

I was trying to construct a simple, introductory intersection problem for the first day of Calculus class, so I started with a well-behaved circle:

This is a circle centered at (3,2) with radius 5.  I picked two points on the circle, (0,6) and (7,-1), found the equation of the line between them, and put together my system of equations:

So I had successfully reverse-engineered my circle-and-line intersection problem with two nice solutions:  (0,6) and (7,-1).

Unfortunately, I made a typo on the handout.  At the end of the left side of the circle equation I wrote ” + 12″ instead of ” – 12″.

So all my work was for naught.  Or so I thought.  Turns out, at least two amazing things happen:

First, the mistake-circle still ends up having a nice radius, namely 1.  What’s even more amazing is that the mistake-circle ends up having two nice intersections with the given line, (3,3) and (4,2)!

I wish my intentional work always turned out as well as this mistake!