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### Place Value and Roman Numerals

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Date: 10/23/2001 at 20:07:16
From: James A. Lazarus
Subject: Importance of place value

What is the importance of place value in relation to the value of a
number? For example, where the number "2" is located in a number
changes its valuation in the number, so how does one explain the
importance of the place value in our number system?

I have explored the realm of whole numbers, prime numbers, decimals,
fractions, and mixed numbers, but cannot find anywhere to date, a
cogent and readily ascertainable description or explanation of this
my class, as I cannot seem to describe this relation.
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Date: 10/23/2001 at 23:16:26
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: Importance of place value

Hi, James.

The way to demonstrate the importance of place value is to demonstrate
how to multiply two Roman numerals.

You will quickly find that you have to learn the same facts in
several different guises. For example, rather than just learning that
3 x 4 = 13, you have to learn

III x IV = XII
XXX x XV = CXX
CCC x CD = MCC

Because Roman numerals have no place value, when you do the same thing
in different digits, you have to say it different ways. With place
value, you can continue this with numbers as large as you wish, just
reusing the same ten symbols; Roman numerals stop at the thousands,
because they would need two new symbols for every new decimal place
you tack on.

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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Associated Topics:
Elementary Math History/Biography
Elementary Place Value

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