Incredible Mental Math Gymnastics on “Countdown”

Count­down is a British TV game show revolv­ing around words and num­bers. In the num­bers round, con­tes­tants select six of twen­ty-four shuf­fled tiles with num­bers on them. Next, a com­put­er gen­er­ates a ran­dom three-dig­it tar­get num­ber and the con­tes­tants have thir­ty sec­onds to get as close to that num­ber as pos­si­ble by com­bin­ing the six num­bers through addi­tion, sub­trac­tion, mul­ti­pli­ca­tion and divi­sion. This mem­o­rable episode of Count­down aired in March 1997 and starred James Mar­tin and his rather unusu­al way of arriv­ing at the tar­get num­ber of 952.

One YouTube user sug­gest­ed a dif­fer­ent way: 6 x 75 = 450; 450 ÷ 50 = 9; 100 + 3 = 103; 9 x 103 = 927; 927 + 25 = 952

I found yet anoth­er way: 100 + 3 = 103; 103 x 6 = 618; 618 x 75 = 46,350; 46,350 ÷ 50 = 927; 927 + 25 = 952

What about you? Any more sug­ges­tions?

By pro­fes­sion, Matthias Rasch­er teach­es Eng­lish and His­to­ry at a High School in north­ern Bavaria, Ger­many. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twit­ter.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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