Monthly Archives: January 2007

2007
01/09

Category:
Teaching

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“Not all societies adopt 10 as the base for their numerical calculations. Saxe (1981) for example, cites a system used by the Oksapmin of Papua New Guinea which is based, not simply on counting fingers, but on many body parts (such as elbows) which are used according to a convention governing the sequence for counting (i.e. to provide a model) which goes from 1 to 27. When exposed to an imported currency system (based on 20 shillings to the pound, the Oksapmin adapted their system to create a base 20 counting system which utilized only the first 20 elements of their original one.”

David Wood, How Children Think and Learn (2nd Edition)