Skill or no skill? A Game for 2 or 3 players


The winner is the player who has the highest total score at the end of a round

You Need:

  • A set of playing cards
  • A dice (or one each)
  • A spare piece of card or paper you can cut up

Before You start:

  • Agree how many score cards you will have, whether you are playing skill or no skill. Make enough score cards (about 2cm square is fine)

Example of working out your score:

If your dice says “3” and your playing card says “3d+1” then your score is 10, because 3×3+1=10

Playing “No Skill”

  • Suppose you have agreed to 5 score cards each. Deal the players 5 playing cards each, which they put in a line in front of them (no cheating!!)
  • Players take turns to roll the dice, and work out the score from the card, writing that score on the next small score card they own.
  • When everyone has finished using their cards, total up the score cards and see who won.

Playing “Skill”

  • Suppose you have 5 score cards. Agree a higher number of playing cards and deal those out.
  • Each time a player rolls their dice, they can choose which playing card to use this turn, to work out their score. Once a playing card is used it is turned over. You won’t be able to use it again.
  • You will find that some cards work well with large dice scores, some work well with smaller ones. Some cards (we called them “golden cards”) work brilliantly with sixes and can score as much as 49!!!

Making the playing cards:

It’s up to you how hard you make the algebra, but here are some ideas to get you started. You need about 20 cards.

  • 2d+1
  • d²-5
  • 4-d
  • d-3
  • (d-1)²
  • 3d+1

Moving the Page and Post Heading Down to stop it obscuring featured image in WordPress Twenty Fourteen

You see the problem – the image you chose is partly hidden behind the page title or post title.  This code is tested with Twenty Fourteen. You need to add it to your custom CSS file.

.full-width .site-content .has-post-thumbnail .entry-header,
.full-width.singular .site-content .hentry.has-post-thumbnail,
.site-content .has-post-thumbnail .entry-header {
margin-top: 0;

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Replacing the grey striped background of Twenty Fourteen featured image with white CSS

You see the problem – the image you chose is narrow so, on a computer screen, it has a nasty grey background. This code is tested with Twenty Fourteen. You need premium or business to make it permanent – but you can try it using your CUSTOMIZE option on a free blog. .content-area {
padding-top: 0px;
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text-align: center;

Teaching a Teenager to Tell the Time

interactive clock game

It may surprise you to learn that some teenagers can’t tell the time. Intelligent ones, even. I have seen this happen particulary when a student is showing symptoms of Dyscalculia…

Why can’t she tell the time?

It’s a complex skill, and depends on an appreciation of numbers from one to sixty, the five times table, and halves and quarters. Plus of course a sense of whether we are in the “to” zone (leading up to the next hour) or the “past” zone (just past the previous hour) which is essentially a matter of left and right. And leads to 8:40 being called “twenty to nine”. Plus of course the ability to quickly add or subtract 12 is essential to converting from the 24 hour clock to am and pm. The ability to swiftly move from one numerical naming scheme to another is crucial.

If any of those underlying skills aren’t strong enough then telling the time is going to be a real struggle.

She may hold tight to digital clocks and only want to work with either the 24 hour clock or only work with AM and PM type times.

What can a tutor or parent do?

  • Understand that this skill IS difficult. Never belittle the student. I have yet to encouter ANY teenager who likes having weaknesses in their raft of mathematical skills
  • Find out what they CAN do. Read a digital clock? Say what time things normally happen?