It is most likely that mathcmatics began when people started to count and measure. Counting and measuring are. part of everyday life. Nearly every language in the world contains words for numbers and measures.

People have always used their fingers to help thcm when counting. This led thcm to collect numbers in groups: sometimes fives (fingers of one hand), sometimes tens (both hands) and even in groups of twenty (hands and feet). For example, someone with 23 sheep might say, 'I have four fives and three' sheep or 'two tens and three' sheep or 'one twenty and three' sheep. It would depend on local custom and language. In every case, the number of sheep would be the same.

When people group numbers in fives we say that they are using a base five method of counting. Most people use base ten when counting. For this reason, base ten is used internationally


1. Say the numbers from 1 to 30 in your mother tongue. 2. What is the base of counting of your mother tongue? 3. Do you know of any other bases of counting? o Why are bases five, ten and twenty most common?
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