Ancient Egyptian Numerals

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DSC01048A group of students, of various ages, were learning about the ancient number systems. Later in the day, one student started working on addition questions using ancient Egyptian numerals, which is difficult because the Egyptians had no concept of place value. After working through a little frustration, he said, “This would be so much easier if the Egyptians had zeros! I wish the zero had been invented before 600 A.D.!” Here’s an example of history and mathematics coming together in a way that allows the child to discover for himself the importance of one of the most fundamental principles of our number system: place value.