Egyptian Number System

Created by Sasha Reid, Serika Smith, and Vivian Trumblay
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Curriculum – Number Sense and Numeration

Number Sense and Numeration, Operational Sense: use a variety of mental strategies to solve addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems involving whole numbers.
Quantity Relationships: represent, compare, and order whole numbers up to 1 000 000.
Mathematical Process Expectations: communicate mathematical thinking orally, visually, and in writing, using everyday language, a basic mathematical vocabulary, a variety of representations, and observing basic mathematical conventions.

Goal

To teach students about the ancient Egyptian number system.

Materials

  • Introductory script (Appendix A)
  • One bingo card/ student and enough chips to fill up each player’s card (Appendix B)
  • Sheets of paper representing each Hieroglyph and their Arabic numeral equivalent, prepared by the teacher (Appendix C)
  • Story cards with challenge for when infinity symbol is drawn (Appendix D)

*Download the lesson to see all appendices.

Lesson
Introduction

  • The teacher will ask students, “What are some things you know about ancient Egypt?”
  • Share some of the information in Appendix A.

Lesson

  • Give students the opportunity to learn and practice using the Egyptian hieroglyphic number system by printing each Egyptian hieroglyph with its equivalent Arabic numeral on a large sheet of paper.
    • Initially have the Arabic numerals hidden and have students guess what the different hieroglyphs mean; then present with the larger numbers in the base-ten model.
  • Once students demonstrate an understanding of the numbers through the ability to show various numbers as Egyptian hieroglyphs, then move onto the bingo game.

Activity

  • Distribute bingo cards and golden bingo chips (Appendix B).
  •  Introduce students to the game and how to use the additional resource provided (Appendix C).
  • Begin the game by drawing Egyptian numerals from a bag at random.
  • Intermittently throughout the game, infinity will be drawn.
  • At the drawing of the infinity card, the teacher would stop the game, choose a picture with a specific
    ancient Egyptian fact, and engage the students in a short non-fiction story about an Egyptian fact or
    figurehead. After the story is told, the students are given a short numerical task to complete (See
    Appendix D).

Possible Extensions

  • Incorporate literacy by having students make up their own infinity cards