Spring Saturday SAVY, Week 2, Secrets of the MoLi Stone (3rd-4th)
During our second session, students embarked on a global journey, delving into the realm of numeration systems with a focus on the overarching concept of systems. Continuing our exploration of patterns, groupings, and symbols, we utilized the exploding dots machine to illustrate base two numbers, laying the groundwork for base three understanding. The revelation that regrouping occurs after two dots in a box, with place values being multiples of two, served as a crucial connection between base two and base ten, setting the stage for the subsequent exploration of base three.
Our initial destination was the captivating Land of Treble, where everything adhered to groups of threes, including a base three numeration system. The students enthusiastically immersed themselves in this peculiar land, discovering not only the numerical intricacies but also the whimsical names associated with each value. A group of one became a “gickle,” three formed a “bickle,” nine transformed into a “rickle,” and twenty-seven assumed the title of a “trickle.” The day resonated with joy as students playfully uttered these quirky names. Challenges were presented to them, requiring in-depth engagement with the base three system. From adding gickles, bickles, and rickles to subtracting in base three, the tasks provided a comprehensive exploration of the system’s principles.
Transitioning to Egypt in the afternoon, students encountered a series of challenges akin to their journey in the Land of Treble. Exploring the meaning of symbols and their representation of numbers, they deciphered the value of seven distinct Egyptian symbols. This included learning to read and write Egyptian numerals and performing addition and subtraction operations using these symbols. The culmination of these activities prompted reflection on the characteristics of our familiar base-ten system, sparking comparisons with the Egyptian numerical system. The revelation that 5,749 required 25 Egyptian numerals for representation added an element of awe, along with the realization that the Egyptian system lacked a symbol for zero and any representation beyond one million.
The class concluded with an engaging escape room activity, incorporating hieroglyphics, ancient Egyptian knowledge, challenging math problems, and teamwork. The students successfully unraveled the code to unlock an ancient Egyptian tomb, discovering a clue that teased the excitement of the upcoming week’s adventure.