A palindrome is a word or phrase that is a mirror image of itself.
Numbers and dates, when they are written month-date-year, can do the same thing and that’s where it gets really interesting.
Saturday was a palindrome, 01/02/2010; the previous one occurred 10/02/2001 and before that?
“The amazing thing is, the one before that was Aug. 31, 1380 or 08-31-1380,” said Aziz Inan, a math puzzle enthusiast. “That was 620 years ago.”
(Here’s a link to Inan’s original article.)
Palindromes are far less frequent than the blue moon that occurred this New Year’s eve.
“We have 12 palindrome dates this century; the rest of the world has 29,” he said. “Our 12 all will occur on the second day of the month. Theirs all occur in February.”
The U of Portland prof doesn’t limit this sort of thing to numbers. Take his name…
Print AZIZ in all capital letters; turn each Z on its side, and then swap the vowels. The result? His last name, INAN.
Now I have a suggestion for you. Share the articles with your kids in an age appropriate way, not just numbers, but words. Then play together with family birth dates, names, etc.—not as a lesson, but as fun.
As Inan says, it’s a great way to get kids interested in math and words.
Image credit: Aziz Inan