Essay on You Never Thought You Had to Think to Count

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You Never Thought You Had to Think to Count

It was after taking the 2nd MOEMS (Math Olympiad Elementary and Middle School) that I heard this phrase from my school’s math coach. We had sat and taken this test for 26 minutes, and then afterwards ALWAYS talked about the problems. It came up when looking at a problem that went somewhat like this: ‘Each student in an art class is given 48 cubes that measure 1cm x 1cm x 1cm. No students make the same design. What is the largest possible amount of students in that class?’ I was so close! I answered eight, when in fact, the answer was nine! Everything was right about my strategy, thinking, and what I did, but I had missed one of the figures. That is what I am getting to; that is what makes it so
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Did I miss one? Did I count one twice? All the things that go through your head… ‘But, but, but, bu-’ one might think. There is algebra, and calculus, and… and… and…! Yes, but there is also counting in other base systems. Ever heard of that? This is page 10 of this chapter! You can count in any base system at all. Almost everyone uses base system ten. Hypothetically speaking, if you were to say ‘I want to count in base system three!’ You tell you friend you are going to count to seven so they know when to start the race. The number seven in base system three is twenty-one. So you would count like this: ‘1, 2, 10, 11, 12, 20, 21!’ When you are about to say three, the tens digit goes up one. The only possible units digits when counting in base three are 0, 1, and 2. Here is how you figure it out using a quick shortcut. Three goes into seven twice (2_) with one remainder, so it turns into 21. It seems pretty simple, but in reality, it is not.
Counting began with the simple action of putting marks on a bone. “Numbers, and counting, began about 4,000 BC in Sumeria one of the earliest civilizations.” Also, algorithm I guess you could say; started with chickens…? Well, not really. “Their method of counting began as a series of tokens. [...] If a man had five chickens he was given five tokens. When he traded or killed one of his chickens, one of his tokens was removed.” It also seems like the people who
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