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Games people play

(Photograph) - How many cards does it take to build a house?* The faces of these four Russian children painted by Zinaida Evgenievena Serebryakova in 1919 are absorbed by the classic problem; that absorption wil be mirrored on the faces of children throughout the United Kingdom on December 5.

December 5 is Number Day, when Maths Year 2000 and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children are urging the whole country to get involved in fun maths and raise money for a good cause. During the week of October 9, schools will be sent a Number Day pack suggesting what games to play and how to organise sponsorship. To find out more ring Learn Direct, tel: 0800 100 900.

Games organised by M Numbervator (see page 18) include Just a Little Bit Please, which encourages pupils to find fractions; Hit the Number, which practises recall of multiplication and division; and Who Wants to be a Mathionaire?, with different questions for all ages and abilities. Budding "imagineers" can try to build 3-D mathematical models such as a 12-pointed star and a countdown calendar.

Online maths games can be found on the Maths Year 2000 website: mathsyear2000.org.uk and don't miss the dream music fantasy game on: Pickateam.com.

Victoria Neumark

* Answer: In a traditional structure, each level must have three cards more than the one above it. Source: Marie Berrondom, Mathematical Games, 1983

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