Happy 2019! Have you set any goals for the year?
My goals are to continue playing with math (1) in my homeschool co–op classes and (2) on this blog — and (3) hopefully to publish a couple of new books as well.
My favorite way to celebrate any new year is by playing the Year Game. It’s a prime opportunity for players of all ages to fulfill the two most popular New Year’s Resolutions: spending more time with family and friends, and getting more exercise.
So grab a partner, slip into your workout clothes, and pump up those mental muscles!
Rules of the Game
Use the digits in the year 2019 to write mathematical expressions for the counting numbers 1 through 100. The goal is adjustable: Young children can start with looking for 1-10, middle grades with 1-25.
- You must use all four digits. You may not use any other numbers.
- Solutions that keep the year digits in 2-0-1-9 order are preferred, but not required.
- You may use +, -, x, ÷, sqrt (square root), ^ (raise to a power), ! (factorial), and parentheses, brackets, or other grouping symbols.
- You may use a decimal point to create numbers such as .2, .02, etc., but you cannot write 0.02 because we only have one zero in this year’s number.
- You may create multi-digit numbers such as 10 or 201 or .01, but we prefer solutions that avoid them.
My Special Variations on the Rules
- You MAY use the overhead-bar (vinculum), dots, or brackets to mark a repeating decimal. But students and teachers beware: you can’t submit answers with repeating decimals to Math Forum.
- You may NOT use a double factorial, n!! = the product of all integers from 1 to n that have the same parity (odd or even) as n. The Math Forum allows them, but I feel much more creative when I can wrangle a solution without invoking them.
For many years mathematicians, scientists, engineers and others interested in mathematics have played “year games” via e-mail and in newsgroups. We don’t always know whether it is possible to write expressions for all the numbers from 1 to 100 using only the digits in the current year, but it is fun to try to see how many you can find.