Over in the Mental Gym, I have a tutorial on squaring numbers, starting with simpler techniques for multiples of 10 and 5, and working up to squaring numbers as large as 125.

Naturally, I always like to see how much farther I can go, especially when I can still keep things relatively simple. With the technique I'll be teaching in this post, if you're comfortable with squaring numbers up to 125, you're ready to move on to squaring numbers up to 199 (Well, actually 200, since that's not difficult to square).

**Rightmost Two Digits**

We're going to generate the answer from right to left in this technique, working with no more than 2 digits at a time. To get the rightmost 2 digits of the answer, simply square the rightmost 2 digits of the given number. For example, if you're given the number 112 to square in your head, you'd square the rightmost 2-digits of that number, 12, to get 144. You write down the rightmost 2 digits, 44 in this example, and remember the remaining digits to the left, such as the 1 in this example (underscores are used to hold places for numbers not yet written):

**Middle Two Digits**

For the middle 2 digits, simply double the rightmost 2 digits of the given number, then add the number you remembered, if any. Write down the 2 rightmost digits of this answer to the left of the digits previously written, and remember any digits to the left of that. Returning to our 112 example, we look at the rightmost 2 digits, 12, and double that to get 24. Adding the number we remembered from the previous step, 1, we get a total of 25. The rightmost 2 digits of this answer are 25, and there's no digits to the left of those to remember:

**Leftmost Digit(s)**

For the leftmost digits, take any amount you have remembered at this point, and simply add 1 to it. Write down that total to the left of all the digits you've previously written, and you're done! In our 112 example, we didn't remember anything for this stage, so we just write down 1, resulting in:

You can check for yourself that 112^{2}=12,544.

**Tips**

**Single-digit numbers:** When working on either the rightmost 2 digits or the middle 2 digits, you may wind up working with a single-digit answer. These steps *always* require working with 2 digits, so for single-digit answers, just place a 0 to the left of it to make it a 2-digit number.

For example, when squaring 103, you start by squaring 3 to get 9, with nothing to remember:

Next, you'd double 3 to get 6, again with nothing to remember:

Since you don't remember anything from the previous steps, just add a 1 to the left of this answer:

This tells us that 103^{2}=10,609.

**Remembering multiple digits:** Just so you have an example of working with larger numbers, let's try squaring 178. Start by squaring 78, which is 6,084. Write down the 84, and remember the 60:

Next, double 78 to get 156, and add the 60 you remembered from the previous step, giving a total of 216. Write down the 16, and remember the 2:

Finally, add 1 to the number you're remembering and write that down to the left of the previous digits. In this case, we add 1 and 2 to get 3:

The result of 178^{2} is 31,684.

**Interest for 2 time periods:** This technique is especially handy for quickly calculating how many times the principal will grow at interest rates of 99% or less for 2 time periods. The only additional step is to put a decimal point between the ten-thousands and thousands place. For example, since 103^{2}=10,609, that means that principal invested at 3% per year for 2 years will grow to 1.0609 times its original size. Although you're not likely to ever see it happen, principal invested at 78% per year for 2 years would grow to 3.1684 times its original size, because 178^{2} is 31,684.

Practice this, have a little fun with it, and you'll have an impressive new skill!

## Squaring Numbers from 100-199

Published on Sunday, July 02, 2017 in fun, math, mental math, self improvement

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