The idea here is to start by dividing by 20, then divide by 18, and then continue dividing by 20 until we reach zero.We note the remainders as we divide and then write them out from the bottom to the top.
In other words, the bottom remainder is worth the most value and the top remainder is worth the least value (1 itself). Studying Mayan Numerals makes a good connection between Math and Social Studies.
Lessons on Mayan Numerals can be designed for a wide range of ages.
If we add one pebble to 19, we will have 5 pebbles, which becomes 1 stick, giving us four sticks.
These four sticks are represented in the second place as one pebble, and then the first place is left with a shell, zero,. Hence, five pebbles make one stick (5), and four sticks make one pebble and one shell (20).
When carrying from the second column to the third we carry when we get to 18 (three sticks and three pebbles).
This is because the third column is 20 18 so it is build of multiples of 18.
We can simply add sticks to sticks and pebbles to pebbles.
Now we must put this number into the Mayan base 20 format.
This assumption is not totally wrong but there is one twist.
Instead of having a 20 column (400's column) the Mayan's used multiples of 360 (1820), in the place of 400.
There is nothing left in the 360's column, which is represented by a shell.