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Finding connections between number systems

In our previous maths learning, we reflected on what we had discovered about our central idea guiding questions and what we still wanted to discover:

° We should look at other number systems to see why they thought our system was better.

° We could find out how they are similar and different.

Great idea, so today I gave groups different ancient and modern number systems and in groups they analysed each and found connections between them.

To make it less baffling, each group began with just three number systems:

° Our Hindu-Arabic

° 2 x ancient Hindu

° Arabic

Once I felt they made quite a few connections I would give each group another number system to see how they could connect it with the others. (Ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Sumerian, Mayan, Chinese characters for numbers, binary, Roman numerals)

We came up with some really amazing connections!

Some of their connections:
° similar symbols to represent numbers

° 1, 2, 3 very similar patterns
° The Sumerian & Chinese characters use the same concept to create their numbers

° Babylonian & Roman numerals use the same symbols to represent 10, 100, 1 000

° Symbols for 0, 2, 3, 4, 5 the same in Hindu and our Hindu-Arabic number system

° The Arabic and Chinese systems use the same pattern to create numbers

° Babylonian & Egyptian number symbols look similar and express themselves in the same way.

Afterwards, we wrote some of our big discoveries and shared these together.

We felt we had gained a deeper understanding of how our own number system came to be whilst some of us also shared reasons they felt some other number systems. We also felt that this activity has helped us a lot in understanding our central idea.

This looks like a fantastic way to introduce the base 10 concept. Is there any chance you can share the table of your other number systems (or point me in the direction of where they are if you have already done so!) I am new to the enquiry based model and am really enjoying your site!

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