The History of Counting

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9780688141196: The History of Counting
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Drawing on years of research, a renowned archaeologist traces the evolution of counting. She shows how the concept of numbers came about, how various societies answered the question "How many?," and how our modern-day decimal system was developed. Engrossing and enlightening, this fascinating book introduces children to one of our most important inventions.

00-01 Utah Book Award (Informational Books)

Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies 2000, National Council for SS & Child. Book Council

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About the Author:

Michael Hays is the illustrator of several books for children, including Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger and Hello, Tree! by Joanne Ryder. He lives in Oak Park, IL.

From Scientific American:

When we count, we say "one, two, three ... " but it is possible to count without using numbers at all. Perhaps instead we could just point to different parts of our body to represent varying amounts. Pointing to our left shoulder would mean nine, while pointing to our right eye would mean 15. This type of body counting is how the Paiela, the people of the highlands of Papua New Guinea, count. They have no special words for numbers. Another people, the Veddas of Sri Lanka, also count without numbers. They pile up pebbles to represent the objects: one pebble for each object. They have a few special counting words meaning things such as "a single," "a couple," "another one" and "many." In this book, author Schmandt-Besserat draws from her background as an archaeologist and takes us through the early counting techniques of the ancient Middle East to witness the evolution of our modern-day method. Try your hand at counting the way the ancient Sumerians did and experience a world without zero. Try to count like the ancient Greeks and learn the 27 letters of their alphabet that they used as numerals. After short experiments with these techniques, the advantages of the modern system become clear. You'll never look at numbers in quite the same way again.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780688141189: The History of Counting

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ISBN 10:  0688141188 ISBN 13:  9780688141189
Publisher: Collins, 1999
Hardcover

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