Great math’s puzzle for smaller groups where the individuals get you to think out of the box.
Step by Step Instructions for Birthday Numbers
- You will need a set of Birthday Number Cards
- The game is for smaller groups and should only take 10 -15 minutes to complete
- You can do this on the floor or at a table, place five birthday cards in front of the group
- Have the group study the numbers
- You should now invite one of the members of the group to tell you which one or more of the cards displayed have their birth day on it. It doesn’t include the month or year.
- Refer to ‘How to play” apply the solution, you will now be able to accurately predict their birthday.
- Proceed to ask another group member and predict their birthday.
- Do this a few more times and ask if they have figured out what you’re doing to come up with the correct answer.
- Carry on for a few more minutes, add some clues and then reveal your secret.
How to Play Birthday Numbers in more detail
As with any puzzles they get you to think out of the box, this one exercise is just as intriguing. Beforehand, get your hands on some Birthday Number Cards, which you can download from our premium membership panel. You will need five of these cards.
Place the cards in order in front of your group 1 through 5 or A, B, C, D, E, either on floor or a table. Each card has 20 numbers written on it, you can choose numbers from 1- 31. This is the reason that the game is called Birthday numbers. Have everybody in the group study the numbers on the cards.
When ready, ask one member of the group to look at the cards again. Then ask them to tell you on which cards they see their birth date, this can be on one or more cards. They must just reveal the birth date and not the month and year. You will notice that the date will come up on at least one card but could also appear all five of the cards.
Okay, so now the volunteer from the group has revealed their birthday and the numbers appear on three cards, for instance A, B and D. Once you have this information, you amazingly predict that their birthday is on the 11th day of the month. You can carry on with others in the group and predict their birth days as well.
Everybody will now be very curious as to how you accomplished this, what did you do to solve the puzzle. This is great, because this is the main aim of the game, getting everybody to try and figure out how it is done. This is where the group should start to think out of the box, the solution is very simple and when applied, the answer will come naturally. Have everyone test out some ideas of their own to see if they can figure it out.
Once everybody in the group has had a turn and are still struggling, help them by sharing some clues:
- Observe the numbers that appear on each card
- Then observe which numbers only appear on one card
- Think about what connection these numbers have with each other
The group should be able to figure out the answers, which is quite obvious if you know what to look for. If you want to try this out first without getting the answer, I recommend you don’t read further. For those who wish to learn the secret, read on.
You will notice that there is a number in the left-hand top corner of every card. This number is your key, these numbers on the chosen cards added together, will always give you the solution.
Say the volunteer chose the cards A, B and D. You will notice the numbers 1, 2 and 8 on the cards, which added together will give you 11.
You can also add a number of different variations for this activity, for example:
You could use the 64-number version of this activity, which does require a few more cards.
Facilitating Tips for Birthday Numbers
When introducing this game, you might come across those who won’t be too enthusiastic about puzzle games. Encourage them by telling them the game is very short, only a few minutes and everybody will know the answer in the end. Don’t give up before you have even tried, some people may even be surprised they figured it out.
Lead the group towards the activity by making it sound like a magic trick. You can read their minds and tell them the exact day they were born. You could look even more amazing if you don’t have to glance at the cards. If you could memorize the numbers on the top left-hand corner of each card and then calculate in your head, the effect will be even more amazing.
For those who know the trick, the answer is easy to come up. The solution is simple, and once learned, is quite obvious. You can compare this to somebody learning a new skill, where it seems very difficult or you feel like you’re all thumbs. You might fail a few times and may even want to give up on the whole thing, but once you get it, you wonder what was so difficult to begin with.
Questions, tips and reflections
Some good questions can go a long way in helping a group process their experience when playing a game. Here are a few to pose for Birthday Numbers:
- Did you find the game good or bad as you followed it through?
- Were you able to discover the solution soon or did it take some time?
- How did it make you feel when you understood how to solve the puzzle?
- The solution to the puzzle is very clever and subtle, but once understood, very obvious. Do you think you have some parts in your life that remain hidden to others in the group?
Benefits of playing Birthday Numbers
- Helps people to think outside the box
- Gets people to think more creatively
- You can use the game as a metaphor for life lessons
- The game can be used as a great filler in when there is extra time.