20 Cool Facts About Maths

If you were to play a word association game with a school-aged child, you’d be pretty unlikely to get a response of ‘cool’ when you asked them what word first came into their mind when you said ‘maths’. Despite what some people may tell you, maths is far from dull. On the contrary, there are plenty of fun and strange maths-related facts out there that will fascinate children of all ages. To prove this, we’ve compiled a list of 20 cool facts about maths which we encourage you to share with the children in your life.

1. The word “hundred” comes from the old Norse term, “hundrath”, which actually means 120 and not 100.

2. In a room of 23 people there’s a 50% chance that two people have the same birthday.

Illustration of birthday cake

3. Most mathematical symbols weren’t invented until the 16th century. Before that, equations were written in words.

4. “Forty” is the only number that is spelt with letters arranged in alphabetical order.

speed limit 40 sign

5. Conversely, “one” is the only number that is spelt with letters arranged in descending order.

6. From 0 to 1000, the only number that has the letter “a” in it is “one thousand”.

7. ‘Four’ is the only number in the English language that is spelt with the same number of letters as the number itself.

8. Every odd number has an “e” in it.

9. The reason Americans call mathematics “math”, is because they argue that “mathematics” functions as a singular noun so ‘math’ should be singular too.

10. Markings on animal bones indicate that humans have been doing maths since around 30,000BC.

11. “Eleven plus two” is an anagram of “twelve plus one” which is pretty fitting as the answer to both equations is 13.

12. Also, there are 13 letters in both “eleven plus two” and “twelve plus one”.

13. Zero is not represented in Roman numerals.

14. The word “mathematics” only appears in one Shakespearean play, “The Taming of the Shrew”.

portrait of Shakespeare

15. -40 °C is equal to -40 °F.

16. In France, a pie chart is sometimes referred to as a “camembert”.

17. The symbol for division (i.e.÷) is called an obelus.

18. 2 and 5 are the only prime numbers that end in 2 or 5.

19. A ‘jiffy’ is an actual unit of time. It means 1/100th of a second.

20. If you shuffle a deck of cards properly, it’s more than likely that the exact order of the cards you get has never been seen before in the whole history of the universe.

deck of cards spread out face down


Wow, after hearing those facts about maths, we’re positive that the young person in your life will no longer think that the subject is ‘uncool.’ That said, if you’re looking for an additional tool to help your child engage with maths, you should check out our multi-award-winning online maths tutor, Maths-Whizz. With its educational maths games and personalised lessons, it has been found that students who use Maths-Whizz for 60 minutes a week increase their Maths Age™ by, on average, 18 months in their first year of use.* To find out more, book a free consultation today.

*Research by Whizz Education — conducted with over 12,000 students and verified by independent experts — demonstrates that children who learn with the Maths-Whizz Tutor for 45-60 minutes a week increase their Maths Age by an average of 18 months in their first year.

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