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How to Remember and use Roman Numerals

Updated on December 6, 2012
The Basic Roman Numerals
The Basic Roman Numerals | Source

Roman Numbers

My 4 yr old brought home a roman numerals sheet today and immediately I thought about how much my 3rd and 4th graders love to write numbers in the "code" of roman numerals.

First is the basics. These are the basic numbers in the roman system. The numbers are represented by letters from the Latin alphabet.

There are several things that the students get confused about when writing in roman numerals. The combination of how the symbols are put together determine the number. When a smaller number is placed in front of a larger number it means to subtract that number from the larger number when it is placed to the right that you add the number together.


Mnemonic Devicce

How to remember the Roman Numerals beyond I, V, X





The mnemonic device helps my students remember the order of the rest of the Roman Numerals. Also remember that the numbers only occur with the lead digit being 1 or 5.

The Roman system includes the number 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 100, etc

How to use Roman Numerals

I = 1

II = 2

III = 3

IV = 4 - notice that the I before the V means 5 - 1 = 4

V = 5

VI = 6

VII = 7

VIII = 8

IX = 9

X = 10

A few more examples

VL = 45, 5 before the 50 means to subtract

IC = 99

MCL = 1000 + 100 + 50 = 1150

DIL = 500 + (50-1) = 549


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      Ryan 14 months ago

      thanks for the help on writing school essay

    • profile image

      Rabia 21 months ago

      I made a song, so useful : D stands for 500 ıhhhhhhhhh, M stands for killion which equals to thousandddddddd, L stands for 50 ahhhhhh (shake your head while saying 'ahhh'), C stands for centuryyyyyy whichhhh isss 100 rıdd.

      If you dio this everyday ( especially for SAT's and practise test for year 6) you will know every Roman numeral ( actually you dont have to do every day, it can be 1 day, just one, and even if you eaten' dont be embrassed because of your family ). Thank you.. thank you.. thank you.

      By Rabia ( year 6 2016, hate new curriculum, so hard, SAT's coming, pray for me )

    • profile image

      Gail 4 years ago

      I learned:

      If Victor's Xray Looks Clean Don't Medicate

    • kthix10 profile image

      kthix10 5 years ago from IL

      LOL - that is a great point!

    • againsttheodds profile image

      againsttheodds 5 years ago

      Never heard of that lucky cows drink milk memory device before, now I can always know what Super Bowl it is.