# Ten Shapes Make the Numbers

If math describes the way the world works,**numbers**are the alphabet that makes math possible. While many cultures throughout history have come up with different symbols for numbers, you are lucky to have one basic set of numbers used in modern math. Ten shapes represent ten values that range from no things to nine things. Here they are:

That's it. You're all done with numbers. Once you know those shapes and the values they represent, you can do almost anything with basic math and arithmetic.

# More Than Numbers

Okay. If you know those ten shapes, you can go far. You can write down the value for almost any number you can imagine. As you already know, there is more to math than just numbers. As you learn more about basic arithmetic, you will learn about symbols that relate to addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (x, *, •), division (÷, /), and the ever-present equals sign (=). There will also be parentheses "( )" and brackets "[ ]" that will help you organize the order of your actions.## Related Activities

Counting to Ten (10)
- Play Activity |
Chinese Symbols from One (1) to Ten (10) Memory Challenge
- Play Activity |

# Useful Reference Materials

**Wikipedia:**

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-algebra*

**Encyclopædia Britannica:**

*http://www.britannica.com/topic/mathematics*

**College of the Redwoods:**

*http://mathrev.redwoods.edu/PreAlgText/*