If you like your ABCs and your 123s, then Scrabble is the game for you. We celebrate it today on National Scrabble Day. You pick 7 little square letter tiles, which you keep secret from the other players. You line up the letters to make a word on the board so it crosses other words already there, like a crossword puzzle. The number on each tile tells you how many points you score for using it. Letters that are harder to use, like Q, X or Z, give you more points. Some spaces on the board double or triple the points for that letter, or even your whole word score! Best of all, if you use all 7 letters at once, called “racking,” you get an extra 50 points. You’ll be a winner if you’re good at both words and math!
Wee ones: How many letters does SCRABBLE have? (You can have a grown-up spell it for you while you count!)
Little kids: If you play the word DOG, the D and G each score 2 points, and the O scores 1. How many points do you score for DOG? Bonus: What if the D lands on a double letter space, so you double the D’s points…now how many points do you score?
Big kids: If you play the word WINNERS, the W is worth 4 points; the rest are 1-point letters. But if you get to triple the W and get 50 points for racking, how many points do you get? Bonus: What number can you spell with the letters VEYSTEN, and how many points is it? And what other words can you make? All letters score 1 point except the 4-point V and Y.
Wee ones: 8 letters.
Little kids: 5 points. Bonus: 7 points, because you just added 2 again.
Big kids: 68 points: 12 for the W, 6 for the rest, and then 50. Bonus: SEVENTY, and it’s worth 4 plus 4 for the V and Y, plus another 5 for the other letters, plus 50 for racking. Other words, include NEST, NETS, VEST, VETS, SEEN, EYE, YES…and others!
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.