You don't need a real aptitude to enjoy maths, and even if you had woefully useless teachers (as I did), you can still have fun with numbers.

Are you one of those people who play with numbers? I was,
even was I was small, and when I was supposed to be sleeping, I would be lying
in bed, going "2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024 . . ." on and
on, seeing how high I could go.

I usually got 22 or 23 terms before I lost track and had to start again. I just enjoy looking for patterns (or I fell asleep).

Sometimes, I find something useful, like a way to fool people into thinking that I had memorised the cubes of all the numbers from 100 to 200.

I usually got 22 or 23 terms before I lost track and had to start again. I just enjoy looking for patterns (or I fell asleep).

Sometimes, I find something useful, like a way to fool people into thinking that I had memorised the cubes of all the numbers from 100 to 200.

I developed this trick by looking at the final digit of
various cubes:

If you cube a number ending in 1 the result ends in 1

If you cube a number ending in 2 the result ends in 8

If you cube a number ending in 3 the result ends in 7

If you cube a number ending in 4 the result ends in 4

If you cube a number ending in 5 the result ends in 5

If you cube a number ending in 6 the result ends in 6

If you cube a number ending in 7 the result ends in 3

If you cube a number ending in 8 the result ends in 2

If you cube a number ending in 9 the result ends in 9

and obviously,

If you cube a number ending in 0 the result ends in 0

See the pattern? If you know the last digit of the cube, you
know the last digit of the seed number that was cubed.

Then I realised that you can memorise the

*approximate*ranges for the cubes of 100 to 109, 110 to 119 and so on:
100 – 109 1 to 1.3 million

110 – 119 1.3 to 1.7 million

120 – 129 1.7 to 2.2 million

130 – 139 2.2 to 2.7 million

140 – 149 2.7 to 3.3 million

150 – 159 3.4 to 4 million

160 – 169 4.1 to 4.8 million

170 – 179 4.9 to 5.7 million

180 – 189 5.8 to 6.7 million

190 – 199 6.8 to 8 million

— so if I hear
1442897, I know from the first two digits that we are between 110 and 119, and
the last digit of the cube (7) tells me the last digit of the number being
cubed is 3, so the answer is 113.

Try it!

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