Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Is zero a number?

On my way to school this morning, I saw this great Tweet from @RichardsonLiza who is a really inspiring primary teacher in Perth (she is a great follow!)

I thought the children in my class would like to help her class out since we looked at zero quite a lot in the beginning of the year.

We have also been exploring how we can action so responding to her students' question seemed like a great, natural link to taking action ourselves.

Having children connect across the world with learning is such an amazing thing we can do these days!

We wrote our 'short' ideas down and then discussed them as a whole class debating different theories we were harbouring.

Some of our ideas:

Yes, it is:

° Zero is a number that represents nothing.

° There is no scientific evidence to show that zero exists, therefore zero has no value. My theory is that zero does exist because it is the value of zero and it is everywhere.

No, it isn't:

° Zero is like a bookmark because we put it amongst numbers to hold or create their value so that the other digits don't get mixed up.

° Zero isn't a number. It is used only to create place values in numbers such as 10, 100, 1 000, 105 etc

° Zero might not be a number because a number must have at least one unit in it to exist.

° Zero isn't a number but it does separate numbers into positive or negative numbers.

° Our base 10 number system would be very different without zeros, but they are just place value holders instead of being a number.

We thought that this Tweet from students all the way across the other side of the world really helped us to think deeply about our number system and zero. We also hoped our ideas would help those students with their enquiries too!