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The Secret Code

Anitha Bennett

Does the M word give you the jitters? We’re talking about math, what else! Most of us experience fear and frustration when working with numbers. Be it the simple division sum, or the slightly more complicated world of algebra — it’s hard to equate maths with fun! But there are many new and creative ways to learn mathematical concepts and have fun while learning them. Here is a maths game that you may enjoy.

The Secret Code

This game is as simple as it is exciting. All you need is a lot of imagination and focus.

How to play the game

Give each number (from 0-9) a special code, and write it on a piece of cardboard. For instance, you can equate the alphabet ‘d’ to the numeral 1, ‘m’ to the number 2, and so on. All the players can look at the cardboard for 10-15 minutes, memorising the code as well as they can.

Next, create sums using the code. Some should be simple and others can be more complex.

For example,
m-d
dm + ad

Players need to substitute the alphabet with its number and then do the calculation. Create at least ten sums and write them on the back of the code boa-rd. Put away the code board and allow participants 20 minutes to solve the sums.

See who can remember the codes and get the sums right in the given time.

No writing is allowed except for answers. So you can’t copy the code at any time.

You can award 5 points to the simple sums and 10 points to the more complex ones.

One person can be the scorekeeper and check everyone’s score.

The game not only sharpens your memory, but we bet you’ll feel like a master spy trying to decipher a secret message!

This is a great game to play when travelling. You just need a piece of paper or cardboard, and a pen.

India’s Maths History

India = Math

If the above equation makes you wonder, you have a lot to learn about our country! Some of the best mathematicians ever were Indians! Aryabhatta invented the shunya or zero, without which maths is unthinkable. The place value and decimal systems were also developed in India circa 100 BC. Can you imagine writing number sums without the place values?

The value of pi was also first calculated by Budhayana from India much before Pythagoras. He discovered this in the sixth century long before Pythagoras but somehow it never came to light and no one ever heard of him until much later.

Algebra, trigonometry and calculus originated in India as well.

Likewise quadratic equations that you learn in high school were made by Sridharacharya in the 11th century.

The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Indians used numbers as big as 1,053,910 to the power of 53 as early as 5,000 BC.

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