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Topic: Summer '96 Institute: Middle School Working Group
Replies: 29   Last Post: Jul 19, 1996 3:55 AM

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Sarah Seastone

Posts: 171
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Middle School Activities - We need help with:
Posted: Jul 18, 1996 8:13 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

This is a wonderful exchange! How little we know about other cultures, and
what fun to find out.

- Sarah

>We need help with: On the flight from California to Philadelphia I was reading
>a book,
>"Pi in the Sky, Counting, Thinking and Being" by John D.
>Barrow and from that I thought it would be interesting to
>find out all
>the different ways different people around the world use
>their
>hands to show counting.
>
>I wrote my "keypal" Musumi Suzuki today the following
>message:
>
>*******
>Dear Mutsumi,
>
>Could you tell me how you count on your fingers in Japan? I
>am reading
>a book called "Pi in the Sky" and the author talks about
>different
>cultures using their hands to count. Some people show the
>numbers 1
>to 10 on their fingers by starting with the palm open and
>others are
>the opposite - they start with the palm closed. I started
>thinking
>that when I was in Germany they show "2" by extending the
>thumb and
>the index finger while American's typically extend the index
>finger
>and the middle finger to show "2".
>
>So I am asking various "keypals" how they show numbers with
>their
>fingers. I just find it interesting. I am also curious
>whether the
>palm of the hand is facing or the back of the hand is facing
>you
>as they show the fingers representing the numbers.
>
>Thank you,
>Suzanne
>********
>
>This is his lovely reply:
>
>********
>To: salejan@empirenet.com
>Cc: msuzuki@pse.che.tohoku.ac.jp
>Subject: Re: Different counting methods
>Date: Fri, 19 Jul 1996 12:03:40 +0900
>From: Mutsumi Suzuki <msuzuki@eleph.pse.che.tohoku.ac.jp>
>
>Dear Suzanne;
>
>We Japanese start with open palm facing, and follows as;
>
>one---> fold thumb
>two----> thumb and index finger
>three--> thumb, index finger and middle
>...
>five---> closed palm
>six----> open little finger
>seven--> little and ring finger
>...
>ten----> open palm.
>
>To show two, we use extended index and middle fingers,
>with back of hand facing me (palm side facing towards
>the person to show the number).
>
>To show five we use open palm (not closed, differs from the
>above counting system).
>
>Really interesting problem!
>Mutsumi
>
>********
>
>My "help" question is that I would love help gathering more
>data
>on this question. The reason I find this of interest is that
>I
>have always thought it worthwhile to demonstrate to students
>that "math" was not written (or invented!) by one person.
>I like to get students engaged in thinking of the
>development
>of mathematics and why it has developed. I think the idea of
>counting is such a basic concept and could be fun to use to
>open a discussion on the development of mathematics.
>
>If I receive a variety of answers as I am expecting,it would
>make a fun Web page and possibly an activity.
>
>Thank you ,
>Suzanne








Date Subject Author
7/15/96
Read Summer '96 Institute: Middle School Working Group
Sandy Sherman
7/15/96
Read Middle School Activities - Things we're doing (Second Try!)
Suzanne Alejandre
7/15/96
Read Middle School Activities - Things we're doing:
Eric Sasson
7/15/96
Read Middle School
Donald W. Smith
7/15/96
Read Middle School Activities - Things we're doing:
Eric Sasson
7/15/96
Read Spanish Lo Shu
Sarah Seastone
7/15/96
Read Re: Middle School: Geometry/Math Concepts Using Art/Draw Programs
Anne Wheelock
7/15/96
Read Re: Spanish Lo Shu
Cynthia Lanius
7/15/96
Read Middle School: Geometry/Math Concepts Using Art/Draw Programs
Denise Miller
7/15/96
Read Re: Middle School
Suzanne Alejandre
7/15/96
Read Re: Spanish Lo Shu
Allen Adler
7/15/96
Read Re: Spanish Lo Shu
Suzanne Alejandre
7/15/96
Read Re: Spanish Lo Shu
Suzanne Alejandre
7/15/96
Read Re: Spanish Lo Shu
Lou Talman
7/15/96
Read Re: Re: Spanish Lo Shu
Anne D. Sandler
7/16/96
Read math and language arts
Allen Adler
7/16/96
Read Middle School
Donald W. Smith
7/16/96
Read Re: Re: Spanish Lo Shu
Suzanne Alejandre
7/16/96
Read Middle School Activities - Things we're doing:
Eric Sasson
7/16/96
Read Re: Spanish Lo Shu
Suzanne Alejandre
7/16/96
Read Middle School Activities - Things we're doing:
Eric Sasson
7/17/96
Read Re: Middle School Activities - Things we're doing:
Jean Abel
7/17/96
Read Re: Middle School Activities - Things we're doing:
Suzanne Alejandre
7/17/96
Read Middle School: Tessellations - Historical and Geographical Connections
David Grant
7/18/96
Read Middle School
Donald W. Smith
7/18/96
Read Re: Middle School: Tessellations - Historical and Geographical Connections
Suzanne Alejandre
7/18/96
Read Re: Middle School
Suzanne Alejandre
7/18/96
Read Middle School Activities - We need help with:
Eric Sasson
7/18/96
Read Re: Middle School Activities - We need help with:
Sarah Seastone
7/19/96
Read Middle School: Re Dialogue onsite & online
Denise Miller

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