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another sum exlusive

Issue 12 - January 2005

headline

story pic Describing darts players as having 'amazing agility' with numbers, the minister for skills and vocational education, Ivan Lewis, visited the World Professional Darts Championships at Lakeside earlier this month.

Lewis was joining forces with the British Darts Organisation (BDO) to promote adult numeracy learning. Around 14.9 million adults in England lack numeracy skills expected of 11-year-olds, and although 7 million people describe themselves as regular darts player, the pub chain John Barras installed calculators beside its darts boards last year following complaints by older players about their younger opponents being unable to do the necessary sums because of a lack of basic arithmetic.

Mr Lewis said that darts was 'a fun way to sharpen up your number skills', and welcomed a new focus on 'darts and other leisure and sporting activities to help people realise there is no mystery to gaining a useful skill in numeracy'. The campaign, 'Get On', which is part of the Skills for Life Strategy, launched by the Government in 2001, was also endorsed by leading professional darts players. 12-times Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) champion Phil 'The Power' Taylor said 'Darts is fantastic for honing your maths skills. They should introduce darts calculations into the GCSE maths syllabus'. 2004 world champion in the rival BDO championship, Andy Fordham, known as 'The Viking' because of his beard and long hair, said 'I would encourage any players out there who don't feel very confident with maths in other contexts to find more out about the campaign, to build on what they can already do'.

The top players demonstrate their mathematical abilities by almost instantly calculating the combinations of darts they need to close out a match. With a possible 82,407 ways to get from the starting point of 501 points to zero, plus the need to calculate which way it would be better to miss a shot and still be able to finish, it's no wonder that darts player display such astonishing numeric fluency!

 

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