Clock mathmatics

Reading time: 1 min

During year four in junior school we had a teacher who I found absolutely terrifying, at the time I was also struggling with maths and couldn’t really do my multiplications quickly or accurately. Given time I’d eventually find the solution but the inevitable wait was agonising.

The teacher in question had a game where he’d draw a clock face on the black board, make everybody in the class stand up and randomly pick classmates, pointing at random numbers on the clockface while shouting “Six times…” “Three times…” and so on. If you got the answer correct you were allowed to sit down, if you took too long, or got the answer incorrect you continued to stand until it was your turn again.

This game terrified me to such an extent, I’d disassembled a small wristwatch I’d been given and replaced the mechanism and face with a tiny piece of paper with some of the trickier answers scrawled on them. I never successfully implemented this cheat, but the memory sticks with me.