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Roman Numerals for KS2

What are the Roman Numerals?

As the name suggests, Roman Numerals was originated and used by Romans as their numbering system for communication and trade until the middle ages. In this system, alphabets are used to denote numbers and their combination to create larger numbers. Modern usage employs seven main symbols, and each of them corresponds to a fixed value. The symbols are I, V, X, L, C, D, & M which represents 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1000, respectively.

You can help your child to learn and feel more comfortable using roman numerals through regular practice. Initially, go for three symbols at a time, and if your child is facing issues remembering which symbol represents which value use mnemonics. We have mentioned some of them below. Encourage your child to look for roman numerals on clocks, TV programs, books, etc. Ask your child to translate various numbers and dates into roman numerals using the above table.

Forming Numbers – The Rules

To understand how Roman numerals work and how we can create larger numbers with these symbols, we need to understand some basic rules.

Rule 1: The roman digits I, X and C can be repeated three times to form the numbers.

For example:

1.) I = 1, I + I = 2, I + I +I = 3
2.) X = 10, X + X = 20, X + X + X = 30
3.) C = 100, C + C = 200, C + C + C = 300

This rule is not valid for digits V, L & D; these digits should not be repeated to form larger numbers.

Rule 2: When a lower digit is placed on the right side of a higher value digit, all the values are added.

Examples:
1. VI = 5 + 1 = 6
2. XXIII = 10 + 10 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 23
3. LXXXV = 50 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 5 = 85
This rule applies to the value of similar digits as well as shown in rule 1

Rule 3: When a lower digit is placed on the left side of a higher value digit, the lower value is subtracted from the higher value digit.

For Examples:
1. IV = 5 – 1 = 4
2. XCIV = 100-10-1+5 = 94
3. CLIX = 100 + 50 + (10 – 1) = 159

Rule 4: To convert numbers greater than 10, we should first write the number 10 or group of 10 and then smaller numbers 1 or 5 as required.

For Examples:
1. 13 = 10 + 3 = 1 0 + 1 + 1 + 1 = XIII
2. 37 = 10 + 10 + 10 + 5 + 1 + 1 = XXXVII
3. 59 = 100 + 50 + (10 – 1) = CLIX

Rule 5: The numerals’ value becomes 1000 times when a horizontal line is drawn over the roman numerals.

For Examples:
1. X = 10 but X = 10000
2. LXVII = 67 but LXVII =67000
3. CL = 150 but CLV = 150000

Objective to introduce Roman Numerals in Key Stage 2

In year 3, the child is expected to write and tell the time from an analog clock that uses Roman numerals. Year 4 kids should be able to read and understand Roman numerals up to 100 (C) and why the number system changed ( Reason: to include 0 and place value missing in the Roman number system), and for kids in year 5, it is important to read, write, and Recognize Roman numerals up to 1000 (M) and the year written using them.

Roman Numerals in Modern Times

Now many people must be thinking about why to study Roman Numerals when it’s not used but there you are wrong as Roman Numerals are used in various applications.
1. For monarchs and Roman Catholic popes
2. On building to mark the year of construction
3. On book listing, to number prefaces, forewords, and chapters
4. In TV programs

Roman Numerals Worksheet – Free Download

Download the Roman Numerals worksheet

Practice to get clarity on the concept

More Reading

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