Learning through gambling

November 8, 2007


Tom pointed to this hilarious/depressing news story about the National Lottery’s ‘Cool Cash’ scratchcard:

To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

But the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for some Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

The worst part is that Camelot (the company that runs the Lottery) has withdrawn the scratchcards – effectively admitting that it’s not OK to rip off fools, even in the name of charity.

But as my friend Ed pointed out, they missed a trick here: we need more difficult questions, not fewer ones. Studying should be rewarded. People who worked hard at school should have a better chance of winning a rollover.

In this spirit then, booktwo is proud to put forward its suggestions for new Lottery scratchcards, ones which we believe will do more to improve the nation than all that cash for the Olympics can possibly do. It being booktwo, we obviously had to focus on improving the literacy rates among British lottery players, so here goes:




I expect my cheque from the Department for Education Department for Children, Schools and Families any day now.

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