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The video below introduces this challenge:
You can have a go using this interactivity:
If you are working away from a computer, you could treat this as a game for two people, or play in two teams of two.
You will need a 1-6 or 0-9 dice. Our dice interactivity can be used to simulate throwing different dice.
Each team should draw some cells that look like the picture below. (The cells on the left don't need to be a different colour, but we will refer to those cells later.) Alternatively, you could print off this sheet of cells.
You will need to throw the dice eight times in total. After each throw of the dice, each team decides which of their cells to place that number in.
When all the cells are full, each team will have created four two-digit numbers.
Teams then check if their number sentences are correct:
The winner is the team with the higher score. See the hint for some examples of scoring.
Have a go at playing the game and keep a running total of your scores.
In between rounds, teams might like to try to find the highest possible score they could have achieved, if they had known the eight numbers in advance. Their new scores can be added to their running totals.
Will this affect your strategy in the next round?
Have a go at playing the game in a similar way to Version 1, but this time, note down all eight dice rolls before deciding where to place them.
Keep a running total of your scores.
Who is the winner after ten rounds?
Who is the first to reach 500 points?
Now, imagine that the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 have been thrown.
Where would you place them in order to get the highest possible score?
Can you provide a convincing argument that you have arranged the numbers in the best possible way?
You may like to check whether you have indeed got the maximum score by typing the numbers 1 to 8 (without commas and with no spaces between them) into the 'Values' box in the Settings of the interactivity above, and then testing your solution.
An interesting follow-up to this game is More Less is More, which again challenges you to create correct statements, but this time after carrying out some simple calculations.
This activity featured in an NRICH student webinar in November 2022.
Follow the clues to find the mystery number.
What do the digits in the number fifteen add up to? How many other numbers have digits with the same total but no zeros?
In the multiplication calculation, some of the digits have been replaced by letters and others by asterisks. Can you reconstruct the original multiplication?