//Gathering for a Story

Gathering for a Story



Listening to a story is a delicious way to get the big picture. The teacher makes unifying concepts seem like shimmering new ideas by gathering us and sharing details we never knew or never thought about.


The Story of Numbers was revealed to a small group of six and seven year-olds recently. Their imaginations were immediately captured as they were brought back to the earliest of times, the times illustrated in the Timeline of Early Humans. Here are just a few glimpses of the story as it progressed:


Perhaps Early Humans, wanting to describe the number of deer, the number of bee hives found, used one stone for each, one stone for "one," and two stones for "two. . . "



The Greeks used a symbol similar to the first letter of their word for a number, with something that looked like a "d" for "deca," or ten.



The Roman Numerals are sometimes seen on buildings, showing the year they were built.



Chinese Numerals allowed them to record large numbers for agriculture and trade.



With only a few lines, we can move from one kind of numeral to another.



Looking at the charts from the Story of Numbers, we can see some likenesses between the different systems of numerals.



The children moved closer to point out connections they saw.


After looking at several different systems of numbers, the children heard that the numerals we use are called “Arabic” numerals, because Arabs, traveling to India, found a book, “Arithmetic,” which gave them the idea to use the numbers one to nine and the zero, to represent hierarchies of numbers like we use today.


A chart was presented with “Old European” numerals, which look very much like the ones we use.


The children looked and made comments about the likeness and differences with our numerals.


The spell of the story is woven.


Fueled by the images of this adventure of human invention and discovery, the children were ready to take up clay tablets and wooden styluses and leap into the story itself.


From the spell of the story came an appreciation of the creative work that brought us the bead frame and the ability to write and imagine numbers into the millions, and billions, and trillions, and on.


Notches on sticks, cuneiform, hieroglyphics, the abacus and many other inventions expressed our human fascination with numbers.  What other inventions can you name that have brought us the ability to work with numbers we have today?


Do you enjoy keeping score at a baseball game or working with statistics?  Who do we have to thank for these?



If you have more to add to the Story of Numbers, by all means do so. Click on “comment” and add your information.



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2017-11-14T22:22:49+00:00By |Early Education|