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Grade 4

Whole numbers and their relationships

Module 5

Ways of counting in local languages and different cultures


To describe and illustrate various ways of counting in local languages and different cultures throughout history [LO 1.2]

Now you are going to explore the world of number names and symbols to see how our number system developed.


1.1 You have been using numbers and counting on and counting backwards. See if you can remember the names for the numbers in some of our South African languages. In the table below write the name of a local language most commonly used in your area. Now write in the words in that language for numbers 1 to 10.

Numbers English ………………………. Afrikaans
1 One Een
2 Two Twee
3 Three Drie
4 Four Vier
5 Five Vyf
6 Six Ses
7 Seven Sewe
8 Eight Ag
9 Nine Nege
10 Ten Tien


When children learn to count, they chant the numbers and move rhythmically to the music. Get together with some friends and make up a rap song to count from 11 to 20 in any South African language. Present this song to the rest of the learners.

1.3 Now write number names of another local language most used in your area. Also write the name of the language in the space provided in the second column.

Numbers Other local language Numbers Other local language
11 16
12 17
13 18
14 19
15 20

1.4 Try to find out the names for the following numbers and write them in the correct columns:

Numbers Other local language English Afrikaans
1 000
10 000

CHECKLIST: Number names

Yes No
1.1 I have written in number names for 1 to 10 in a local language that is used most in my area.
1.2 I have made up a rap song to count from 11 to 20 with my friends. We performed it for the rest of the learners.
1.3 I have written in number names for 11 to 20 in a local language that is used most in my area.
1.4 I have found out and written in the names for 100; 1 000 and 10 000.


You may do this in your own time, at school and/or at home, as your educator decides.


(Research is when you need to look up information and use it to answer questions. Ask your educator to take you to the library to do the research in this section or use the computer to look up information on the Internet.)

READ: The following information tells you about counting systems. Now test your skills by answering the questions that follow.

2. Pre-history: People in ancient times

Thousands of years ago, before people could write, they had no knowledge of numbers and figures and they had to find ways of indicating how many animals or possessions they had. They put a small pebble in a bag for every animal they possessed, or carved notches on a stick.

  • Why did people start to need numbers?
  • Draw a stick with notches carved on it to show that the owner possessed 5 sheep.

2.3 Besides carving notches on a stick, what else did they use to show how many animals they possessed?

Ancient civilizations

3. The Babylonians

Many years later, people used signs or symbols to represent numbers. The Babylonians who lived in Mesopotamia made wedge-shaped notches in wood or pressed such marks into damp clay tablets.

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Read about ancient clocks like_ hour glass, water clock and sun dial for a quiz and hand on Activity in the class
Neha Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Mathematics grade 4. OpenStax CNX. Sep 18, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11101/1.1
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