Place Value (Beyond Base 10)

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To help students understand place value, we venture beyond our typical decimal number system and explore a Base 9 system. Students will be exposed to ancient Babylon's Base 60 system and computers Binary and Hexadecimal before creating their own number system.


  1. Students consider what a "numeral" is and just how many we actually use.
  2. We discuss our ten numerals and how the base 10, or decimal, system works. Then we introduce base 9, pondering what 8 + 1 would equal in a system without a symbol for 9.
  3. We dig further into Base 9, asking students to complete a worksheet transforming base 9 numbers into base 10.
  4. After correcting the worksheet, we explore real world number systems: Babylonian, Binary, and Hexadecimal. Finally, students develop their own, non-base-10 system and create two-digit numbers using this worksheet.


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