License Plate Math

Sep 9, 2023 | Dundas

License Plate Math

By Mathnasium of Dundas | Added Sep. 9, 2023

Parents often ask how they can assist in improving their child's mathematics skills. Ultimately, the answer is simple:

  • Do math with your child; and
  • Make it fun.

However, the meat is in the details. This week I begin a series on specific ways to find math around the house and car, and ideas on how to make it a fun activity for your child.

In Ontario, most vehicle licensee plates are four letters and three digits. Those digits can be a wealth of ideas for math games playable while driving, wherther to=-and-from school or further afield, even from the youngest age. Here are some, roughly in ascending difficulty:

  1. Identifying largest and smallest digit.
  2. Sorting all three digits, both ascending and desccending.
  3. 10's complement (digit which when added on, sums to 10) of each digit.
  4. Double each digit.
  5. Double each digit, plus or minus one.
  6. Sum all three digits.
  7. Two largest summed, minus the smallest.
  8. Half each digit. Quarter each digit.
  9. Double each digit; and keep going.
    How high can you go?
  10. Find the 1000's complement (the number which when added on will make 1000) of the whole number.
    Can you spot a pattern in the answer? Why does that happen/work?
  11. Square each digit.
    Add 10 to each digit and square the sum.
  12. Find a factor larger than 10 of the number.
    How about larger than 50. Larger than 100.
  13. Is the number prime or composite?
    How high do you need to check divisibility of smaller primes before primeness is confirmed?

All of these exercises are building blocks in the Mathnasium methodology for building first numeric fluency, and then true number sense. Talk to your Centre Director or Lead Instructor to find out which ones your child is currently working on, or has recently completed. They can also explain how these techniques are taught to your child.

Ultimately, you and your child will develop personal favourites; and that's fine. Enjoy! But, now and then, stretch a bit. Who knows; you might develop a new pleasure.


Students! This Saturday, September 9 (and again October 7) we are hosting Kids' Corner at the Waterdown Farmers' Market, in the Legion parking lot.

  • Drop by to say "Hello." - and earn a full card.
  • Introduce us to a friend, from 8 to 18 - and earn a second full card.