Math History Mysteries Part 2: Eenie, Meanie, Morra!

So there you are at a little league baseball game. Your friend is up to bat. Do you find yourself keeping track of strikes and balls by using your fingers? When else do your fingers come in handy for counting and remembering things?

It turns out that people the world over have used fingers (sometimes toes, too) as take-along calculators for a very long time (Hmmm…, is that why our number system is based on tens? I wonder…).

Morra is a fun game that uses fingers and counting to play. In fact, since it requires no equipment and just two people to play, you can pick up a game anywhere! It’s an ancient game that’s been played in various regions of the world for a very long time. Here’s how to play:

Two players stand with closed fists and face each other. Count to three and each player shows 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 fingers. At the same time, each player calls out a number from 1 to 10. If a player calls out a number that totals the fingers on her hand AND her opponent’s hand, she wins a point. Continue playing until one person reaches ten points.

Want to make it extra challenging? Use BOTH hands and call out a number between 1 and 20!

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