Photo by Laura M Bailey
Palindromes are one of those fun ideas that some gifted kids just latch onto. A word that’s the same forwards and backwards? Crazy! Here are some classic palindrome words:
But, of course, we can expand palindromes to include phrases and sentences as well:
- Evil olive
- Madam, I’m Adam.
- A man, a plan, a canal: Panama.
This article, about the Enigma codebreakers from World War II, includes some incredible palindromes that they created in their spare time:
Doc, note, I Dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.
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Of course, you can also have palindromic numbers, such as: 99, 202, and 3003. There are lots of interesting ways to explore palindromes in math. Find:
- perfect squares that are also palindromes (such as 121)
- prime palindromes (like 101)
And finally, there’s a mathematical curiosity that students might enjoy. If you add a number plus its reverse, you will eventually find a palindromic number. Here’s an example:
- Let’s start with 56.
- Add the reverse: 56 + 65
- We get 121. It’s a palindrome!
Here’s one that’s a little more complicated:
- Start with 58
- Add the reverse: 58 + 85
- We get 143, not yet a palindrome
- Add the reverse: 143 + 341
- We get 484, a palindrome!
If you’re a Byrdseed.TV subscriber, there’s an app and a video about palindromic numbers.
- Palindromic Words
- Palindromic Phrases
- And, thanks to reader Shirlena for pointing me to Weird Al’s song Bob, written entirely in palindromic phrases.
- And another reader pointed me towards Jon Agee’s books, such as Palindromania! and Sit on a Potato Pan, Otis!
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