Egyptian Mathematics Numbers Hieroglyphs and Math problems for kids
The ancient Egyptians were possibly the first civilisation to practice the scientific arts. Indeed, the word chemistry is derived from the word Alchemy which is the ancient name for Egypt.
Where the Egyptians really excelled was in medicine and applied mathematics. But although there is a large body of papyrus literature describing their achievements in medicine, there are no records of how they reached their mathematical conclusions. Of course they must have had an advanced understanding of the subject because their exploits in engineering, astronomy and administration would not have been possible without it.
The Egyptians had a decimal system using seven different symbols.
- 1 is shown by a single stroke.
- 10 is shown by a drawing of a hobble for cattle.
- 100 is represented by a coil of rope.
- 1,000 a drawing of a lotus plant.
- 10,000 is represented by a finger.
- 100,000 a tadpole or frog
- 1,000,000 figure of a god with arms raised above his head.
The conventions for reading and writing numbers is quite simple; the higher number is always written in front of the lower number and where there is more than one row of numbers the reader should start at the top.
All ancient Egyptian fractions, with the exception of 2/3, are unit fractions, that is fractions with numerator 1.
For example 1/2, 1/7, 1/34.
Unit fractions are written additively:
1/4 1/26 means 1/4 + 1/26. and 1/4 + 1/28 = our 2/7.
The hieroglyph for ‘R’ was used as the word ‘part’. For example:
In one of the ancient stories the god Seth attacked his brother the god Horus and gouged out his eye and then tore it to pieces. Fortunately for Horus the god Thoth was able to put the pieces back together and heal his eye.
In honour of this story the ancient Egyptians also used the pieces of Horus’s eye to describe fractions.
- The right side of the eye = 1/2
- The pupil = 1/4
- The eyebrow = 1/8
- The left side of the eye = 1/16
- The curved tail = 1/32
- The teardrop = 1/64
Rhind Mathematical Papyrus
It contains 84 different calculations to help with various aspects of Egyptian life, from pyramid building to working out how much grain it takes to fatten a goose.
Math Using Hieroglyphs
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Mathematics Problems one – Easy
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- Question 1 of 1
Queen Hatshepsut has ordered her Nubian general, Nehsi, to sail to the Land of Punt and obtain planks of the finest cut cedar wood for the gates and doors of her new temple.
Each ship can carryplanks of wood so how many ships will Nehsi have to take with him to transport all the wood back to Egypt?
Well done – 600 planks divided by 40 = 15 shipsIncorrect
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