It’s not a trick question, but it might be one you’ve never thought about. Why did counting with Roman numerals come to an end after almost 1000 years of use.
The answer is nothing to do with all that XL and VIII business – it is something quite different from that. In fact it wasn’t something in Roman counting that caused the problem, it was the lack of something.
And that something was zero.
The Romans didn’t think of nothing, because for them there was always something. If there was nothing, there was nothing to count, nothing to discuss. If Lucius owed Marcus five apples and had the five to give his pal, that was the end of counting. It wasn’t that Lucius now had zero apples. There was no number 0 so there was no issue. Apples were gone from the agenda.
Now of course we have zeros and everything is fine – except for around four children in every 100 who find the whole issue of zero very odd, and rather disturbing. Indeed some of these youngsters find the whole concept of number rather bizarre.
Fortunately, there are ways of teaching the meaning of number and time to young people who suffer from this type of problem; young people who are often called dyscalculic. But these ways are somewhat different from the conventional approaches to maths.
Understanding Dyscalculia: An Introduction for Schools examines the origins of dyscalculia and sets out the methods of working available which can help those with dyscalculia overcome their problems with maths.
The book can be copied to give out in full or part to other members of staff in school, to worried parents, and to governors, so that everyone can share in the awareness of what dyscalculia is, and how it can be tackled.
Research suggests that most children who gain appropriate help in school can overcome their dyscalculic difficulties and achieve an acceptable grade in secondary school examinations, thus allowing entry into further and higher education.
Understanding Dyscalculia: An Introduction for Schools is available as a download which can be printed out, copied and given to colleagues within the school for £14.95, including VAT.
ISBN: 978 1 86083 614 5 Order code: T1628 – please quote with order.
You can purchase the download copy of the volume
- On the phone with a school order number or credit card at 01604 880 927
- By email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a school order number
- On line with a credit card via PayPal at https://www.dyscalculia.me.uk/online-shop/item/1-understanding-dyscalculia-an-introduction-for-schools.html