Mayan Math
Incan Math
Numbers and Languages
Ancient Chinese Math
Babylonian Math
100

What year did the Mayan calendar go until?

2012

100

What is a quipu?

The Incan system for recording numbers; consists of knotted strings

100

Count to 10 in a non-English language of your choice.

We'll take your word for it...

100

What number did the Chinese numeral system lack?

Zero

100

What aspects of modern-day time come from Babylon?

The 60-second minute, 60-minute hour, and 24-hour day

200

What base did the Mayan number system use?

Base 20

200

What is a quipucamayoc?

A keeper of the quipus; they kept official records of the Incas using quipus

200

What ancient civilization used short, straight bamboo rods to represent the numbers 1-9?

The Chinese empire
200

The proof of what theorem was found in an ancient Chinese manuscript that predates the better-know Greek version?

The Pythagorean Theorem

200
What base number system did the Babylonians use?

Base 60

300

How did the Mayan overall concept of time differ from our own?

The Mayans thought of time as circular, whereas we think of time as linear

300

How would the number 238 be represented on a quipu?

2 knots close together, and then a gap, then 3 knots, then a gap, then 8 knots

300

What was the first ancient civilization to use a numeral for zero?

The Maya

300

The first known magic squares came from China. What is a magic square?

An nxn grid of numbers where each number, 1 through n*n, is written exactly once, and each one of the columns, rows, and diagonals adds up to the same number.

300

What did the Babylonians use to write and record their numerals?

Cunieform tablets

400

What three symbols did written Mayan numerals use?

A dot (one), a line (five) and a shell (zero).

400

What is a yupana?

The counting board that the Incas used; like the Incan version of an abacus

400

The Babylonians had no symbol for zero. When writing numerals where we would use a zero as a placeholder, what would they do instead?

Leave a bigger gap

400

What device, first used in China around 1200, is still used by some shopkeepers today?

The abacus

400

The roots of what now-universal area of math come from Babylon?

Algebra

500

The Mayans calculated the exact length of a year in days. In decimal places, how accurate was their measurement?

Three - they calculated the year to be 365.242 days (compared to the modern value of 264.242198)

500

What impressive feat were the quipumayocs said to be able to accomplish using only quipus?

Count every person in the Incan empire and bring an accurate list back to the king

500

Where did the numerals we use - 1,2,3,4... - originate?

India (around the 6th or 7th century)

500

What ancient Chinese manuscript has the same position in Chinese mathematics as Euclid's Elements does in Western mathematics?

Chiu Chang Suan Shu (Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Arts)

500

How did the Babylonians divide numbers? (Hint: they didn't have an algorithm like long division)

They thought about something like a/b as a*(1/b), and so they calculated lists of reciprocals and just used multiplication.

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