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Mathematics, Science, and Technology of Ancient Egypt
Print Mathematics, Science, and Technology of Ancient Egypt Reading Comprehension

Vocabulary
 challenging words: hieroglyph, perit, Akhet, sowing, beginning, cubit, midsummer, astronomy, multiplication, mathematics, stairway, calculate, knowledgeable, volume, knowledge, testimony content words: Ancient Egyptians, Dog Star, Nile River, After Thoth, King Djoser, Great Pyramid, King Khufu, Great Temple, Ramesses II

 Mathematics, Science, and Technology of Ancient Egypt By Phyllis Naegeli

1     We may think of ancient cultures as being primitive. This is not always true. The ancient Egyptians were an advanced society. They had knowledge in the areas of math, science, and other technologies that have influenced discoveries around the world.

2     Ancient Egyptians used a numbering system based on ten. Vertical tally marks were used to represent the numbers one through nine. They used symbols for larger numbers. For example, a heel stood for 10, a crook was 100, 1000 was a flower, a finger represented 10,000, and a tadpole represented 100,000. Most of the time, the highest numbers were written first, however, sometimes the numbers were written out of order. It seems as long as they added up to the correct number, the Egyptians were happy! They also had methods for adding, subtracting, and using fractions. In addition, simple division and multiplication were used. Most of the time these functions were done using only ten and two to perform the operation.

3     The standard used for measuring in ancient Egypt was the cubit. A cubit was approximately twenty-one inches in length. Measurement was important to the ancient Egyptian's economic system. They needed to assess the size of land in order to calculate taxes. They devised a system of weights to help in the sale of products. Angles of pyramids and volume of columns were calculated with great accuracy. In addition, they knew how to calculate the area of squares, rectangles, and circles. Just as we do, ancient Egyptians divided circles into three hundred and sixty degrees. And, you know that little symbol we use to mean degrees? It's an Egyptian hieroglyph!

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