(4) Can I play a game to learn to write Mayan numerals?
While the Exploratorium activity is a fantastic way to introduce students to the problem solving aspects of archeology and the connections between archeology and math, the “Living Maya Time” page on the Smithsonian website has a more accessible game for learning the notation of the Mayan number system. The system has three symbols, a dot to represent 1, a line to represent 5, and a shell to represent 0 as a place holder. The place holders in the Hindu-Arabic base 10 system that is used today are represented with blanks from left to right. The place holders in the Mayan system are squares that hold a combination dots and lines or a shell to represent zero. These squares are stacked vertically to represent a single number. The game continues to include addition and subtraction.