Academic journal article Science and Children

Tricky Numbers

Academic journal article Science and Children

Tricky Numbers

Article excerpt

Here are a few "magic tricks" you can do with numbers. They're easy to do but might take you a while to figure out. I got these tasks from an online issue of the Daily Mirror, but you can find similar tasks all over the internet. To see that the tricks do work, just follow the instructions. To figure out how these tricks work, you need to do a bit of algebra, representing your first chosen number with symbols. For example, if you are to choose any number, and you choose a two-digit number, then use xy or ab to represent the number. If you choose a three-digit number, then use xyz or abc to represent the number. Then apply the steps to your "generic" number to see why the trick works. Suppose you are to add the number 9 to any chosen number. You would represent that as x + 9, or xy + 9, or xyz + 9, or even xyzqrs + 9. Because the trick is supposed to work with any chosen number, the number of place values in the number shouldn't make any difference. …

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