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She was, and they put all the peanuts back into her sack, gave it to her, and scampered away, laughing as if this were the fun- niest thing they had ever done. What answer did Sally come up with? Like many math problems, this one can be solved in several different ways.


It is a tricky problem since it seems as if it has to do with arithmetic, but not the usual arithmetic. Tricky problems are fair and square, but trick problems have a sneaky twist that can stump even the best mathe- matical thinkers. Discuss this problem with someone else to see if you can find different ways to solve it. Even though you were there at the time, you may not know on which day of the week you were bom. Your par- ents may remember; then again they may not. You never can be sure what grownups will remember. Just follow these directions.

Write the last two digits of the year you were bom.

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Call this number A. Divide that number A by 4 and drop the remainder if there is one. This answer, without the remainder, is B. Find the number for the month in which you were born in the Table of Months below. Call this number C. On which date of the month were you bom? Call this number D.

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Divide the sum you got in step 5 by the number 7. What is the remainder from that division? It should be a number from 0 to 6. Find this remain- der in the Table of Days. That table tells you on which day of the week you were bom. It will help you find out on which day of the week Halloween or your next birthday will land. In the back of some telephone books there is a perpetual calendar.

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That calendar will help you check to see if you did your mathemat- ics correctly. How Is that possible? Incredible Calculators Have you ever noticed that some people can do arith- metic faster than otheis can? Sometimes this is because one person has had more practice than another. But some people can do arithmetic computations so in- credibly fast that practice doesn't honestly explain their abilities.

Throughout history there have been lightning-fast calculators who could do remarkable arithmetic feats in their heads. Their talents have amazed the slowpokes around them.

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  4. He could easily perform feats such as multiplying two nine-digit numbers in his head. Once, when his rare ability was being tested, he was asked to fig- ure out how many seconds there were in the 70 years and 17 days he had been alive. He figured it out in a minute and a half— in his head. The examiners who were testing him figured the an- swer also— on paper, of course. They got a different answer. But Thomas Fuller was able to show them that they had forgotten about leap years! Thom- as Fuller died in at the age of 80, never having had any formal schooling and without even learning to read or write.

    He was bom in Vermont in His parents never thought he was very bright, but after he had been in school for only a month and a half, they heard him reciting parts of the multiplication tables. Zerah was only six years old at the time. Truman admitted that he was tired after doing this calculation. Tru- man never did public exhibitions. He eventually went to college and studied astronomy; but as he got older, he lost some of the amazing abilities he had had when he was young.

    He died in At the age of eight, when Zerah was giving a demonstration of his powers in England, he was asked to compute 8 to the 16th power.

    That means 8 x 8 x 8 x 8 and so on, multiplying 8 by itself 16 times. He gave the answer, which is ,,,,, quickly and easily and brought the astounded audience to tears. Zerah received his formal education in England. With education, strangely, his calculating abilities decreased. Eventually he returned to the United States, where he tried acting and schoolmastering, becoming a preacher and later a teacher of Greek, Eatin, French, Spanish, and English.

    He wrote his autobiography, explaining some of his calculating methods.

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    Zerah Colburn died in Another calculating prodigy, Tru- man Henry Safford, was bom in , also in Vermont. When he was ten years old, the Reverend H.

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    Adam gave him this problem: Multiply in your head ,,,,, x ,- ,,,, If these stories were interesting to you, you may want to find out about other arith- metic prodigies. Speedo Multiplication one digit at a time, starting in the ones place and moving to the left. The ones digit of the answer Is the able to explain some shortcuts. To get the tens digit of the answer, some calculating tricks and dazzle look at the tens digit in the number: 2.

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    You may even Add that to its right-hand neighbor the dazzle yourself. Now you that you do some mental arithmetic, have Continue the same way. To find memory. Try this method digit in the same place in the number to see if you can get good at it and if you and add it to its right-hand neighbor, like this sort of thing.

    It may seem The answer so far: The final answer using this using this method, you get your answer method is 5, Do you agree? Sometimes when you add a number to its right-hand neighbor, that sum is more than 9, so you have to carry 1, just like in regular addition.

    The difference is that you double the digit before adding its right-hand neighbor to it except for the final digit. So to multiply x 12, follow these steps: 1. Write the 6 and carry the 1; now you have Then add the 1 you carried from the previous addition to get Write the 7 and carry the 1. This gives you The final an- swer is 6, Check it. There are tricks for doing other calculations as we 1 1. If ipu are interested , check in the libraru for books about anthmehc.

    Any num- ber that ends in 0 or 5 is divisible by 5.