Mathematical Histories

13 Jun

How did counting begin? 

When people first started counting, they used their hands. Since most people have ten fingers to count with, it made sense to count in tens, this is how our modern counting system (decimal system) began. There is no mathematical reason why we have to count in tens, if aliens with only eight fingers existed they would probably count in eights!

Photo: Niamh using an abacus

Can everyone count?

In a few places in the world people still live as hunter-gathers (this means they hunt and gather their food). Most modern hunter gatherers can count, but some don’t really bother. The Pirahã tribe in the Amazon rain forest only count to two! All bigger numbers are just known as many (it must get really confusing at times). In Tanzania the Hadza tribe count to three, both tribes manage to do just fine without bigger numbers.

Photo: Indian numbers on a leaf

Photo: Cameron teaching sums while posing as an ancient Babylonian

Learning about the History of Mathematics

Today we have been exploring the history of Maths. We split up into learning groups to research the history of maths around the world. All the different groups got together and planned a way to teach the rest of the class about the number system they had chosen . We explored Indian, Egyptian, Mayan, Babylonian, and also Roman numbers.  Groups came up with different ways to teach the class: puzzles,  making posters and leaflets, podcasts and songs. Cameron McG even dressed up as an ancient Babylonian to teach us sums the Babylonian way! It was a really fun experience and we all learned a lot about the history of numbers!           Reported by: Emily W and Yasmin McG

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Listen to the brilliant podcasts and song we created today

over on our Learning Cloud Radio station

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6 Responses to “Mathematical Histories”

  1. Sameen June 15, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Wow! I love how you said how counting begun. I would have never thought of putting that as a post on my blog! Well done! 🙂

  2. Zinneerah June 15, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Wow Emily and Yasmin! You have posted some thing that, really, nobody would know about e.g. How counting begun e.c.t I would never have thought of that kind of thing.

  3. Taylor + Kasim June 15, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    This is an amazing post because you have gone back in time from when we started to count with our fingers. You have described how many fingers an alien has and that it would count up in the eight times table.

  4. Daniel June 15, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Does anyone know about the famous number sequence by Fibbonaci?

  5. Emilia June 15, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I think it is really interesting about counting! It is unbelievable!
    Thanks for the facts!
    From Emilia.

    • Anonymous February 5, 2013 at 5:38 am #

      thank you

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