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Claudia Zaslavsky

Text of Math Games & Activities from around the world

  • Math, history, art, and world cultures come together in this delightful book for kids.

    More than seventy math games, puzzles, and projects from all over the world encourage kids to hone their math skills as they use geometry to design game boards, probability to analyze the outcomes of games of chance, and logical thinking to devise strategies for the games.

    Many of the games have been played for centuries, like Tic-tac-toe, played in ancient Egypt; Nine Mens Morris, once played in England with living game pieces; and Mankala, the oldest and most popular game in the world. Kids will learn that math is everywhere, from the geometry reflected in buildings to the border patterns of Eskimo parkas. Activities include building a model pyramid, testing the golden ratio of the Parthenon, and working mazelike African network puzzles.

    Claudia Zaslavsky is the author of many books for children and adults, including Africa Counts, Multicultural Math, and Fear of Math.

    Connects youngsters with friends around the globe and through time in compelling math play. Dr. Lorraine Whitman, Executive Director, Salvadori Center

    Math G

    ames & A

    ctivities from Around the W

    orld Zaslavsky

    MULTICULTURAL FUN for AGES 9 & up

    IPG

    ISBN 978-1-55652-287-1

    9 7 8 1 5 5 6 5 2 2 8 7 1

    5 1 6 9 5

    $16.95 (CAN $18.95)

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  • Math Games & Activitiesfrom around the

    World

    Claudia Zaslavsky

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  • Zaslavsky, Claudia.Math games and activities from around the world / Claudia Zaslavsky

    p. cm.Includes bibliographical references (p. 144 145).Summary: Presents games and other activities from different countries

    and cultures that teach a variety of basic mathematical concepts.ISBN 1-55652-287-81. Mathematical recreationsJuvenile literature.[1. Mathematical recreations 2. Games.] I. Title.QA95.z37 1998793.7'4dc21

    Cover, interior design, and illustrations by Mel Kupfer

    Photo credits: p. 20D. W. Crowe; p. 102 courtesy of the Kenya Mission to the U. N.; pp. 21, 52, 133Sam Zaslavsky.

    Figure credits: Figs. 61a and b reprinted by permission of Claudia Zaslavsky: The Multicultural Math Classroom: Bringing in the World (Heinemann, A Division of Reed Elsevier, Inc., Portsmouth, NH, 1996). Figs. 43b and 57a, b, and c courtesy of J. Weston Walch, reprinted from Multicultural Mathematicsby Claudia Zaslavsky. Copyright 1987, 1993.

    1998 by Claudia ZaslavskyAll rights reservedFirst EditionPublished by Chicago Review Press, Incorporated814 North Franklin StreetChicago, Illinois 60610ISBN 1-55652-287-8Printed in the United States of America5 4 3 2

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  • This book is dedicated to all the children of the world. May they have a bright future and enjoy peaceful games.

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  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    I want to thank the many educators who shared their expertise to make this bookpossible. In particular, Judith Hankes contributed her material about the dreamcatcher; Esther Ilutsik shared her knowledge of Yupik border patterns; MarciaAscher set me straight on the solution to the river-crossing puzzle involving the

    jealous husbands; and Beverly Ferrucci shared Japanese paper-cutting and severalgames. I am grateful to the authors of the many books listed in the Bibliography

    that were a source of information and inspiration for this collection. Cynthia Sherrywas a most concerned and involved editor; she played all the games and carried outthe activities, pointing out my mistakes and occasional lack of clarity. I take full

    responsibility for any remaining errors.

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  • INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viii

    1: THREE-IN-A-ROW GAMES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Shisima from Kenya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Tapatan from the Philippines . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Tsoro Yematatu from Zimbabwe . . . . . . . . . . . 8Picara, Native American . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 Mens Morris from England . . . . . . . . . . . . 12Trique from Colombia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Nerenchi from Sri Lanka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16Dara from Nigeria. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

    2: MANKALA: BOARD GAMES OF TRANSFER . . . . . . . 20Easy Oware from Ghana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22The Real Oware Game from Ghana . . . . . . . 24Sungka from the Philippines . . . . . . . . . . . . 26Giuthi from Kenya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

    3: MORE BOARD GAMES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30Pong Hau Ki from Korea & China . . . . . . . . 32Mu Torere from New Zealand . . . . . . . . . . . . 34Pentalpha from Crete . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36Kaooa from India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38Awithlaknannai, Native American. . . . . . . . . 39Butterfly from Mozambique . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41Yot from West Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

    4: GAMES OF CHANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44Lu-lu from the Hawaiian Islands . . . . . . . . . 46Native American Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48The Game of Dish, Native American . . . . . . . 49Stick Game, Native American . . . . . . . . . . . . 51Igba-Ita from Nigeria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52Spin the Dreidel, Jewish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54Toma-Todo from Mexico . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56Trigrams & Good Luck from East Asia . . . . . 58The Hexagrams of I Ching from China . . . . . 59

    5: PUZZLES WITH NUMBERS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60Secret Code, Part I, Ancient Hebrew & Greek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

    Secret Code, Part II, Ancient Hebrew & Greek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

    Magic Squares, Part I, from West Africa . . . . 64Magic Squares, Part II, from China . . . . . . . 66Magic Squares, Part III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68Counting Your Ancestors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70Rice Multiplies from Asia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72Dividing the Camels from North Africa . . . . . 73The Ishango Bone from Congo . . . . . . . . . . . 75Postal Codes from the U.S.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

    Table of Contents

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  • 6: PUZZLES WITHOUT NUMBERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78Crossing the River in the Sea Islands . . . . . . 79Crossing the River in Liberia . . . . . . . . . . . . 81Crossing the River with Jealous Husbandsfrom Kenya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

    Crossing the River in Colonial America. . . . . 83The Snake & the Swallows Nest from Angola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

    The Chokwe Storytellers from Angola . . . . . . 85Decorations on the Walls from Angola . . . . . 87How the World Began from Angola . . . . . . . . 88Childrens Networks from Congo . . . . . . . . . 90

    7: GEOMETRY ALL AROUND US . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92The Olympic Games Symbol. . . . . . . . . . . . . 94The Yin-Yang Symbol from China . . . . . . . . . 95The Dream Catcher, Native American . . . . . . 96The Tipi, Native American . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98Round Houses in Kenya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100Cone-Cylinder Houses in Kenya . . . . . . . . . 101Tangram Polygons from China . . . . . . . . . . 103The Pyramids of Ancient Egypt. . . . . . . . . . 105The Parthenon in Greece . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107Pueblo Buildings in the U.S.A. . . . . . . . . . . 108

    8: DESIGNS & SYMMETRY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110Masks and Faces from the U.S.A.. . . . . . . . 112Native American Masks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114Hopi Flat Baskets, Native American . . . . . . 116Pennsylvania Dutch Love Pattern from the U.S.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118

    Mon-Kiri Cutouts from Japan. . . . . . . . . . . 120

    9: REPEATING PATTERNS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122Yupik Eskimo Border Patterns from Alaska. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123

    The Covenant Belt, Native American. . . . . . 125African Patterns from Congo . . . . . . . . . . . 127Patchwork Quilts from the U.S.A.. . . . . . . . 130Adinkra Cloth from Ghana . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133Tessellations in Islamic Culture . . . . . . . . . 135Polygon Patterns, Islamic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136Be a Tessellation Artist, Islamic . . . . . . . . . 138

    10: SELECTED ANSWERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140

    BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144

    A WORD ABOUT UNICEF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146

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  • viii

    INTROD

    UCTION

    id you know that some ofthe games that kids playwere invented hundreds,

    even thousands, of years ago?Today you can play computerversions of Tic-tac-toe and Oware,games that go back at least 3,300years to ancient Egypt.The games, puzzles, and

    projects in this book come from allparts of the worldAfrica, Asia,Europe, North America, and theisland nations of Hawaii, thePhilippines, and New Zealand(called Aotearoa by the Maoripeople who first lived there). Theseactivities will introduce you to thepeople who played the games, whosolved the puzzles, and whodesigned the art.

    You will exercise your brain asyou solve puzzles like the Africanchildrens network that aEuropean scientist said wasimpossible. You will follow thelead of Islamic artists who madebeautiful patterns using only