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Spring Saturday SAVY, Week 3, Secrets of the MoLi Stone (3rd-4th)

Posted by on Monday, February 12, 2024 in blog, SAVY.

In the morning, we embarked on our journey back to China to explore our final number system! Together, as a class, we discovered that the Chinese system operates with groupings of ten but doesn’t adhere to a place-value structure. Instead, they express numerals in an expanded notation style. Although the position of a digit doesn’t determine its value, it holds significance in relation to the subsequent symbol. Despite some similarities with our own number systems, the challenge of writing certain symbols, notably a complex representation of zero, proved daunting for students. Delving into this numerical framework not only broadened our understanding but also unraveled the mystery of the MoLi Stone! 

Upon deciphering the MoLi stone, students were tasked with one final mission: crafting a number system! 

  • What fundamental characteristics do all numeration systems share? 
  • Why do we have exactly 10 symbols? 
  • How did the Chinese create symbols beyond the symbol for 10? 
  • How are the Egyptian symbols related to one another within a number? 

By probing these inquiries and critically analyzing the components and principles of various systems, students successfully engineered their own numeric framework. Many found fascination in working with a base-three system, while others opted to explore alternative bases. Some students retained the base-ten system but infused it with symbols representing personal preferences, such as flowers, letters, and shapes! A pivotal realization for students was understanding that numeration systems extend beyond mere arbitrary symbols, emphasizing the interconnectedness of symbols, values, and their positional significance. Radiating with pride, students inscribed their symbols onto their personal MoLi Stones, inviting friends and teachers to decipher them! 

Throughout the last three weeks of The Secrets of the MoLi Stone, we embarked on a journey through four distinct number systems, traversed three different countries, engaged in a virtual escape room, and culminated in the creation of our unique numerical framework! The students relished the opportunity to showcase their diligent efforts, and I encourage you to witness their presentations alongside other friends and family members. 

Here are some questions you can ask your child to learn more about their system! 

  • What is the name of your number system? How did you come up with this idea? 
  • What patterns can be seen in your system? 
  • How are numbers grouped in your system? 
  • Explain the symbols in your system. 
  • Try to figure out your student’s MoLi Stone using the information on their poster! 

It was wonderful to meet so many bright young scholars and see everyone’s families at dismissal on Saturday! Teaching a child is a team effort, and it is because of you and your dedication to their education that they are so successful! I hope to see everyone in another SAVY session this summer!