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# Writing Numbers

By Mark Warner
Age Range: 7 to 11

The table below shows nine different number systems that have been used throughout history. Each picture shows the equivalent of the numbers from 1 to 10, and the last four systems in the table also show the number zero (which is placed after ten in each picture).

 Babylonian Egyptian Greek Roman More information about the Roman counting system can be found here. Ancient Chinese Maya Hindu Arabic / European 15th Century Modern Arabic / European

There is a worksheet based on the above resources. It contains 64 sums (eight from each of the different number systems). Children should work out which numbers are used in each sum and then calculate the answers. They can write their answers using conventional numbers, or using the numbers from that particular number system. You might also want them to write the question in conventional numbers to check their working. The worksheet is available in PDF format only and can be found here .

The questions and answers to the worksheet are as follows:

 Babylonian 1) 1 + 6 = 7 2) 3 + 3 = 6 3) 10 - 4 = 6 4) 2 + 2 = 4 5) 8 - 3 = 5 6) 1 + 1 + 2 = 4 7) 9 - 3 = 6 8) 4 + 2 + 1 = 7 Egyptian 1) 1 + 2 = 3 2) 3 + 4 = 7 3) 5 + 4 = 9 4) 9 - 5 = 4 5) 10 - 2 = 8 6) 4 - 3 = 1 7) 8 - 4 = 4 8) 3 + 4 + 1 = 8 Greek 1) 1 + 4 = 5 2) 9 - 5 = 4 3) 7 - 2 = 5 4) 10 - 9 = 1 5) 3 + 6 = 9 6) 8 - 6 = 2 7) 5 + 5 = 10 8) 4 + 5 - 2 = 7 Roman 1) 1 + 4 = 5 2) 10 - 7 = 3 3) 5 + 5 = 10 4) 8 - 4 = 4 5) 9 + 1 = 10 6) 4 + 2 = 6 7) 2 + 2 + 2 = 6 8) 10 - 2 - 4 = 4 Chinese 1) 3 + 1 = 4 2) 9 - 4 = 5 3) 7 - 2 = 5 4) 5 - 1 = 4 5) 6 - 4 = 2 6) 10 - 5 = 5 7) 2 + 2 = 4 8) 8 - 4 = 4 Maya 1) 1 + 6 = 7 2) 9 - 3 = 6 3) 10 - 1 = 9 4) 1 + 4 = 5 5) 0 + 6 = 6 6) 2 + 2 = 4 7) 1 + 1 + 3 = 8) 6 + 2 - 3 = 5 Hindu 1) 7 - 3 = 4 2) 1 + 2 = 3 3) 8 - 7 = 1 4) 5 + 5 = 10 5) 10 - 6 = 3 6) 4 + 4 = 8 7) 9 - 7 = 2 8) 7 - 7 = 0 Arabic 1) 1 + 3 = 4 2) 5 + 2 = 7 3) 4 + 1 + 1 = 6 4) 8 - 7 = 1 5) 10 - 8 = 2 6) 5 - 4 - 1 = 0 7) 7 + 2 = 9 8) 3 + 6 = 9

Other Possible Activities related to this...

1) Ask the children to make up some sums using different number systems. They could then ask other children in the class to answer these sums.

2) Ask the children to make up their own number systems. They could create new symbols to depict different numbers, and then use these to make sums which they could ask friends to complete.

3) Ask the children to decide which system today's numerals are based upon (it is in fact the Hindu system).

4) After the children have looked at, and used some of the number systems, discuss which one they found the easiest to use.