Numbers are all around us. The numerals we use represent quantities and are used for counting, measuring and comparing amounts. Imagine how difficult it would be to follow a recipe or go shopping without numbers!

Humans have used numbers for thousands of years. The most common number system is base 10 (decimal) but computers work in base 2 (binary) meaning they only use 0s and 1s!

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Number Facts

• Place value means that any number can be represented using only the numerals 0-9, no matter how big or small it is.
• The oldest evidence of people counting is a bone, known as the Ishango Bone, found in the modern-day Democratic Republic of Congo. It shows regular marks used for counting and is about 25,000 years old.
• The Ancient Babylonians were the first people to use a written system for numbers, about 5,000 years ago. The system was based on the number 60.
• Prime numbers are numbers that can only be divided by themselves and 1. The smallest prime number is 2.
• The letter “a” is not used in any number word until you get to one thousand.

Videos

Numberblocks Songs | Let’s All Draw Numbers

Younger children will enjoy learning to write numbers to 10 with the Numberblocks

Running time: 2:22

Compare Numbers up to 100 – Year 1 / Year 2

This video uses bricks and place value mats to help children visualise numbers.

Running time: 4:44

Decimal War

Learn how to play a fun decimal game using a pack of playing cards.

Running time: 4:56

Books

Cockatoos

Younger children love counting the cockatoos in this classic book.

How Many Jelly Beans?

Explore large numbers in this fantastic picture book.

How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten?

A great counting book for younger children.

A Place for Zero

Zero finds his place in this fun book.

Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens

How many lunches will be needed for all the guests at King Arthur’s party?

The History of Number Systems

Learn how ancient cultures recorded and used number systems.

My Book of Numbers 1-120

Engaging number activities to teach younger children about numbers to 120.

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