Quick Mental Math Using Base 10

I was recently exploring ancient numerical systems, and  realized how grateful I am for the standard base 10 system that we commonly teach in our schools today.  Just take a look at this series of symbols that was used in the ancient Babylonian base 60 system:

Upon first glance, it’s enough to make your head spin!  Upon closer inspection, I’m sure that you’ll figure out what symbols represent, but it does require counting of the symbols to verify that you have the correct number.  Not only that, but what does it mean to have a base of 60?  Can you simply add a zero on to a “times 60” problem?  Unfortunately no, it’s a bit more complicated than that, and that is part of the reason why we should be grateful for the base 10 method.

There many nifty tricks that are made possible through the base 10 system, just take a look at this video to see how you can do fast mental math to figure out multiplication problems that appear to be complex upon first glance.

One great way to learn the more basic principles of the base 10 system is through the use of manipulatives.  Check out this cool website that features a fun interactive way of using manipulatives to help teach the base 10 system!

Using the base 10 system makes math fun and easy to learn, it’s important to bear in mind that there are many ways of reaching the correct answer, be sure to explore different methods, as it will help you become a better problem solver!


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