Numeracy–Fundamental Questions


The only picture I could think of to post with this concept, is the Hello Numbers Discovery Pack.  Not that numeracy discussions are for early learners and their teachers and parents.  In fact numeracy is the center of the future of mathematics.  I created the plush numbers with magnets to create multi-digit numbers in response to teachers asking for tools to assist children with numeracy and understanding place value.  Putting 10 on the board or on a worksheet does NOT have the same impact as constructing 10 with 1 and 0 using magnets in your small hands.  Numbers become Friends You Can Count On! and friendly.  They want to engage you in stories of their relevance and how you will interact with them throughout life.

Stories will be coming as to how they came to be and how arithmetic came to where it is today.  Geometry is a critical aspect of the history of math and should be integrated from the beginning rather than left to proving logical relationships visually.  Why did the Greeks use geometry to prove relationships?  This is a great history lesson related to the 3rd question below.


When I meet with teachers, parents and students, I open with some of these questions for them to ponder:

What is math (maths)?  Where did it come from?  If you were to invent a numbering system, what would it look like/what characteristics would it have?

These three questions are fundamental to understanding numeracy.  I have never had folks ask me these questions, but I began asking them when I was a top math/statistics student.  Although I could “do” the work I complained that I did not understand what math was about.  Numeracy is fundamental to understanding math, yet we avoid discussing these three and other similar questions because they demand we are more comfortable returning to preparing folks to answer test questions without concern as to they understanding of what and why they are doing the work.

If anyone has ideas as to responses to these questions, please send them to me:  I am collecting ideas and passing them on to others.  We must address these issues to ensure that what we pass on is relevant to the future.  Even math will move on the respond to the new questions we will face.

When writing, please also discuss what aspects of math you use on a daily basis.  Using does not mean what you teach, but what you use for daily living.  Please also note your profession and how that influences the aspects of math you use.

To fundamental numeracy and math for today and tomorrow!





The Globe Celebrates the Common New Year


NumbersAlive! hopes you all have a wonderful transition from 2017 to 2018.

As 2018 begins, consider how the change in the year utilizes numbers in an understood global manner   How and why did this happen?  Many cultures have their own calendars, but the world celebrates the new year with the same numbering system.  Among the numbers 0-9, 8 is happy to replace 7, who hung on as long as possible as part of time’s name.  Like the US presidency, the transition should be smooth.   Numbers are part of every discipline/concept necessary for transforming young children into citizens

Geometry should be linked to numbers and our efforts to do so created Number Linx which was named the best invention of North America at the iCAN invited inventor conference in Toronto last August.

We are here to help all educators, parents and children understand what math is about and where it came from.   We are focused on such questions and embrace historic and forward-thinking fundamentals to make math meaningful and real.  Being everywhere you look we use actual photos, locations, quotes, etc. to demonstrate its usefulness.  We encourage learners of all ages to observe, discuss, design, create, and make math!  How and why were the systems we use today developed?


Happy Holidays –Celebrate as You Will







Celebrate As You Will

Winter’s often cold and snowy,
But winter holidays are always showy.

You might decorate a Christmas tree.
Or set a blaze of Chanukah lights.
Place clean boots for Santa on your porch,
Or pay respects at religious sites.

No holiday is better or best,
They are times for family, reflection, and rest.
No matter which holiday you call your own,
We hope it brings joy, more than you’ve ever known.

Although Christmas takes center stage in the United State, it’s not the only holiday Americans celebrate in December and January.

Christmas around the world

You all know that many Americans celebrate Christmas on December 25 by decorating a fine spruce, sharing a fine meal, and opening their first present either on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.

But in Germany, Christmas revelers place clean boots by the front door on December 5 for Santa to fill with nuts, sweets, and small presents.

In Italy, kids eagerly await January 6, the day in ancient times when the three Wise Men arrived at Bethlehem and gave Jesus gold, incense, and myrrh. Today, Italian boys and girls believe a good old witch named “Befana,” leaves gifts for them.

Kwanzaa, created in the 1960s in response to racial strife in the U.S., celebrates the African American culture and community. The holiday’s seven days, which begin December 26 and end on January 1, centers around seven values – unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Each night, family and friends gather to light candles, feast, and talk about how each person can make the world a better place.


In early/mid December, Jews celebrate Chanukah by lighting a nine-candle the menorah, which symbolizes the miracle of faith. For eight nights, Jews light the menorah, exchange presents, and spin the dreidel, a gambling game for chocolate-covered coins called “gelt.”

Japanese New Year

It’s called ‘Omisoka,” and Japanese families celebrate it on December 31, the last day of the year. People clean their homes and remove clutter to welcome in the new year with a metaphorical clean slate. Family and friends feast together and often watch a nation-wide New Year’s talent competition until the countdown to midnight, when temples toll their bells.

If you have a copy of our The 12 Notes of Christmas, watch the entire film during the holidays that links each day 0 (Christmas Day) to 12 (Jan 6, Twelfth Night) as the numbers travel the world to create a musical band to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400+ legacy at the opening of Twelfth Night in the Globe Theatre.  Learn instrument design linked to the day 0-12 as well as history and holiday food in each global location.  Animated for kids and information for all ages.  The mashup of the 12 Days of Christmas song and Twelfth Night by Shakespeare takes its goal from Duke Orsino’s line from the play, “If music be the food of love, play on!”

Check out the shop to order a film as it is great for the entire holiday season.  The price is free but there is a $4.95 shipping charge for any total order.

Corresponding discussion questions are available at

Celebrate the holidays as you will!

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