Our Number System

During our Discovering Mathematics lecture yesterday, we were looking at the origins of number systems and how other number systems such as Roman Numerals work.

We were given the task to think of the other numeral systems and in groups create our own system. Our group originally started just playing around with dots which became a lot more when we tried to appeal to children. Our simple dot system became like smiley faces (like the emojis used on smartphones which children seem to really enjoy expressing themselves through), named by minions (because of the insane obsession with them currently) and our last section, for any number after five, our numeral system resembled the Munduruku tribe numeral system where after the number five they had “many” where as we used “plenty” after our fifth dotted symbol.

Photo 1







Richard then posed us with the question  – how would you order ten drinks at the bar? If you say plenty – how do you know you will get exactly ten drinks? But there is a solution to this problem Richard, sums. Multiplication, addition.. If you want ten drinks, simply order kevin drinks twice… You then have exactly ten drinks without needing a number for ten. The Fundamental mathematics Richard…


2 Replies to “Our Number System”

  1. Hi Kim,
    I am really impressed with the ideas you have raised here – it shows you are really engaging with this module. You can start to think about how these ideas are influencing your view of mathematics and education and how this will impact on you in future (personally and professionally).
    I particularly loved the debate about animals counting. This raises a wider question – does mathematics direct the world around us or simply explain it? What do you think?

  2. I’ve been thinking about other ways to solve the drinks problem. You could ask for plenty – then simply say ‘stop’ when you have enough for everyone – using equivalence (one drink for one person).
    Or alternatively just get everyone to buy their own drinks… saves your hard earned cash and means you don’t have to remember a complex order either!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *