Counting Fun

  • Whenever you count, you are paying homage to Arabic mathematicians. As English speakers, we took our numbering system from the Arabs. The reason we did this is that the Arabs figured out how to use a zero as a place marker. If you have ever tried to write big numbers in Roman numerals, you have some idea of how much easier it is to use Arabic numbers with zeroes. However, they use a dot instead of a circle for their zero. Their five looks like our zero, except it is shaped more like an onion than an egg. Their six looks like our seven, while their seven looks like a Roman numeral five. The reason for so many similarities is that numbers have to be made from shapes that are easy for people to write, even when they are in a hurry. Here are the basic numbers in Arabic. Notice how similar to English are the 1 and the 9. Also notice how the 2 and the 3 would look like our numbers if they were tipped to the left.
  • See if you can use these numbers to connect the dots to finish drawing the Blue Mosque, which was one of the prettiest buildings in Kabul. Click here to see the image and print it.