2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, Math, Roman Numerals, Uncategorized

Learning about Roman Numerals and a FREE worksheet!

Roman Numerals & How They Began

Historians believe Roman Numerals began as a tally system. Shepherds on the hills and in the fields around Rome would cut marks into sticks to keep track of how many sheep or goats were in their care.

Each animal was counted then recorded on a wooden stick with a single notch cut with a knife. Every fifth sheep was recorded on the stick with two notches which formed a V.  Each tenth sheep was recorded with two cuts to form an X. This method of record keeping was still being used by Italian shepherds during the Nineteenth Century!

How to Write Roman Numerals

I = 1
V = 5
X = 10
L = 50
C = 100
D = 500
M = 1000

The mnemonic ‘I Value Xylophones Like Cows Do Milk’ may really help you. If you’d like a poster and/or flash cards, you can get them on My Teaching Library…

How to Read & Write Roman Numerals – The Additive Property

The Additive Property – This rather ‘techo’ term simply means to ADD the value of each symbol to arrive at the final number .
e.g. LXXXIII = 50 + 10 + 10 +10 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 83

Roman Numeral Rules:
When writing roman numerals NEVER use more than 3 of any symbol.
– When smaller numerals are on the right hand side of bigger ones ADD them to the larger.
– Putting a numeral of lesser value before a numeral of greater value decreases the second numeral by the amount of the first. Thus IV equals four because V (five) is decreased by I (one).
– Putting a numeral of lesser value after a numeral of greater value increases the first numeral by the amount of the second. Thus VI equals six because V (five) is increased by I (one).

Fun Lapbook Project to learn Roman Numerals

Students will learn both the history and math of roman numerals as they create a lasting project. Students are given informational text (a brief history) of this numerical system as well as an explanation of the numbers and how they are used (counted – will require students to ‘identify’ given numbers – i.e. CDLX). Students will also learn how roman numerals are used now in every day life.


  • – Explanation and instructions for creating a lapbook
  • – Informational text
  • – Map of Ancient Roman Empire
  • – Lapbooking templates

My Teaching Library is also offering a FREE worksheet to get students working with Roman Numerals 1 to 99. This FREE Roman Numerals Worksheet has been taken from MTL’s Roman Numerals 1 to 99 and Thanksgiving Mazes product. It will give your students practice converting Roman numerals to numbers (1 to 99). There are 12 problems and a fun cornucopia maze. Answer Key included!

Get your instant free Roman Numerals Worksheet here!

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