More than 5000 years ago, ancient Sumerians invented a way to write numbers. Their form of writing predates the pyramids and even the invention of paper. Some Year 4 students, as part of an enhanced mathematics program, had an interesting time replicating the writing of Sumerian numbers using Yo – Yo cookie dough and square ended chopsticks. A 2 is two 1 marks side by side, add another and you get 3. For 4, 5, 6 start a second line of marks under the first. Continue on a third line for 7, 8, 9. The challenging part is that Sumerians didn’t have a symbol for 60. Instead, they wrote a 1 mark, so 120 looks like number 2. The number 61 is represented by a 1 mark, then a gap and then a 1 mark. The girls had much fun trying to accurately represent a variety of numbers and then sharing their ‘baked clay tablets’ with their classmates. Yum!
by Helen Kirkland, Prep-6 Girls’ and ELC Learning Enhancement Coordinator