Last time we learned how to add like the ancients of Europe, Asia and Africa. This time you have been sent back to ancient Mesoamerica. Good news! This time instead of only rocks you have some ink and some bark! Lets learn how to add Mayan style!
First we need to learn the Mayan numeral system. It is remarkably elegant in its simplicity. There are three symbols that you need to know.
One is represented with a dot, five with a line and zero with a picture of an up-side-down turtle shell. With these three symbols the Mayans were able to represent all the whole numbers. For the numbers up to 19 they had something like a tally system.
But this system could get difficult to handle so instead of continuing to twenty with four lines, they used a place value system similar to the one we used today, only instead of base ten they worked in base twenty.
So twenty would be represented like this:
Lets start with forty-two plus ninety-three. Note that since the Mayans wrote their numbers in columns, we will do the addition across the page rather than down the page like we are used to doing with the Hindu-Arabic numerals.
So now you know how to add like a Mayan! I hope you have gained a deeper insight into the importance a good place-value system has in making elementary arithmetic possible.