Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Alien Numbering System

In this era of education it is important to have work that is going to challenge all students.  I teach grades 6 and 7 and began going over the basics of numeration with properly understandign the base 10 system and how to read and write large and small numbers.  Many of the students in my class didn't need the practice and showed mastery of the material immediately.  By the way having students read decimal numbers properly sure helps later on.  Make them use the words tenths and hundredths all year long and your life will be easier when working with the relation of fractions and decimals later.

Anyway, I had my students mastery group begin to study other numbering systems and eventually create their own.  I received many thank you's at the end because these students were excited about learning this.  Easy correlation to computer programming which use different base systems.  I had them pretend they were inventing it for an alien group so that they would describe themselves fully.  I allowed them to present their material however they wanted and received a youtube video, a poster and a few text book style projects.  The students then began to appreciate the base 10 system and even months after the completion I still have students come to me as they are trying to learn more about different bases.

Here is the criteria I gave them

Alien Number System

Names :



You and your partners are traveling to another planet, which is called Quintro.  On this planet all the creatures that live there only have 4 fingers and one antenna that they use to count with.  The creatures on this planet need some help in creating a number system and are looking to you for advice.  Your task will be to create a new numbering system for them.

Since the creatures only have 4 fingers and 1 antenna they need a base 5 system.  You will have to create this for them.


You and your partners will have to create a poster that demonstrates the following.


1.      Create the 5 symbols and names for the symbols.

a.       One of the symbols will have to represent zero.

b.      You will need to decide and show how to regroup.

c.       You will need to create and show a Place Value Chart.


2.      You will need to demonstrate how you show all four operations.

a.       Adding

b.      Subtracting

c.       Multiplying

d.      Dividing


3.      You will also have to demonstrate how part numbers (decimals)  work.


4.      You are also expected to write explanations to how all these work in words so that you can convince the Quitronians to use your system.


a.       Explain why is this system good for them.

b.      Explain how you came up with the symbols.

c.       Explain how regrouping works.

d.      Explain how to use all four operations.

e.       Explain how part numbers work.


You will be graded as follows:


ø  Your System:

o   Creativity and originality.

o   Clarity and easiness to use.

o   Does the system work?                                /10


ø  Your Explanations

o   Did you explain your system clearly?

o   Did you prove it works and are you convincing?        /10

ø  Peer Evaluation

o   Did each person do an equal amount of work?

o   Did you communicate well and work well together?             /5


Enjoy! Any comments would be great.