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Call This Number for Happiness

by Derek Stump

The world is a big and busy place, and sometimes we – both kids and grown-ups – can feel sad or scared. When we feel this way, one of the best things to do is talk to family or friends – or anyone who’s nice. That’s why a 5th grade class in Indiana started a happiness hotline. You can dial up 574-832-4965 and press a number to hear either: a pep talk, inspiring quotes, fun facts, a kind saying, or a joke. You can also hear it all in Spanish. As their teacher Mrs. Van Laeken reminds us, when life gives you lemons, call a 5th-grader!   


Wee ones: To choose a recording on the happiness hotline, you press a button for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. If you kept counting, what number would do you say after 6? 


Little kids: Which digits from 0-9 are *not* in the phone number 574-832-4965? Bonus: If a phone number has 10 digits, can those digits ever add up to 100? Why or why not? 


Big kids: The first 3 digits in a phone number are called the ‘area code.’ How much more would you have to add to this area code to make it an 800 number? Bonus: If instead you add the 3 digits of the area code 574, how many other sets of 3 digits from 0-9 can make that same sum? (Don’t worry about the digits’ order!)   

Answers:

Wee ones: 7! 


Little kids: 0 and 1. Bonus: They cannot, because the largest possible digit is a 9, and 10 x 9 is 90, which is less than 100. 


Big kids: 226. Bonus: 5+7+4=16 and there are 14 other different sets that also add to 16: 970, 961, 952, 943, 880, 871, 862, 853, 844, 772, 763, 754, 664, and 556. 

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