Exploring Number Systems

Comparing Number Systems Worksheetgreek_numbers_1.gifgreek_numbers_1.gifAt previous PD sessions I have shared some activities I suggested about looking at different Number systems with students.  I think this is a great topic to explore.  So much of our time during Maths lessons is spent on place value and number work.  For bright students who get it,  this can be extremely frustrating and boring.  

Providing opportunities for students to explore other number systems and letting them create their own can be a great way to manage a class.  While you are working with the students who need it, others can still engage in the kind of work you are doing but by trying to apply other number systems.

hieroglyph.gif

greek_numbers_1.gif

greek_numbers_1.gifgreek_numbers_1.gifI got some Year 2’s to investigate  the Egyptian and Greek Number Systems.  These are relatively simple.  I have included a document which you can use with the students to let them compare the systems. 

The links I have included provide you with some background info about them and the symbols that are used.  Any of the upper primary maths texts should have information about them too.  It’s really interesting to let the students use these number systems  and discover and discuss them.  Our system is known as the Hindu Arabic system.  Getting the students to discuss how ours is more efficient is really worthwhile.  These kinds of activities are a great springboard for them then to  creat their own number systems by designing their own symbols.

http://www-groups.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Greek_numbers.html

http://www-groups.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Egyptian_numerals.html

Whilst these creative processes are fantastic, you need to make sure to take it that step further and provide plenty of opportunities for them to make use of their number systems in classroom situations.  This then becomes an excellent way for them to test their creations and make modifications as required. 

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Comments

  • Mike  On August 11, 2007 at 4:02 am

    How about an article on Binary and Hexidecimal counting?

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