Below is an extract from a piece about teaching kids through asking questions, in this case binary arithmetic.


39) Okay, let’s go back to our two-fingered aliens arithmetic. We
have

                               
0          zero


                               
1          one.

What would we do to write “two” if we did the same thing we do over
here [tens] to write the next number after you run out of numerals?

                          
START ANOTHER COLUMN

40) What should we call it?

                             
TWO’S COLUMN?

41) Right! Because the first number we need it for is ___?

                            
TWO

42) So what do we put in the two’s column? How many two’s are there
in two?

                     
1

43) And how many one’s extra?

                      
ZERO

44) So then two looks like this: [pointing to “10”], right?

                    
RIGHT, BUT THAT SURE LOOKS LIKE TEN.

45) No, only to you guys, because you were taught it wrong [grin]
— to the aliens it is two. They learn it that way in pre-school just as
you learn to call one, zero [pointing to “10”] “ten”. But it’s not really
ten, right? It’s two — if you only had two fingers. How long does it take
a little kid in pre-school to learn to read numbers, especially numbers
with more than one numeral or column?

                        
TAKES A WHILE

46) Is there anything obvious about calling “one, zero” “ten” or
do you have to be taught to call it “ten” instead of “one, zero”?

                           
HAVE TO BE TAUGHT IT

47) Ok, I’m teaching you different. What is “1, 0” here?

                        
TWO

The rest is here

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