The children from PETNS discussed this question at Thinking Time today, and we followed on with some artwork to explore our ideas further. Students are welcome to leave a comment to develop the discussion on this blog. The following multiple choice question may inspire deeper thought -
a. Nothing happens to them, 2 + 2 always equals 4, whether people think about it or not.
b. The numbers vanish, because numbers only exist when people think about them.
c. As soon as numbers have been thought of by human beings they exist by themselves, even when no-one is thinking about them.
Our discussion was very rich today, and we would like to share some of our thoughts on this.
If you don’t remember numbers then you do not know time – Junior Infant,
They go out of your mind – Junior Infant
You stop thinking about them, but they are still there – they are everywhere – Second Class
I don’t know where they go! - Junior Infant.
It is like they are underground, and you cannot see them – Junior Infant
People know numbers – so they should write them down so they do not forget them – Junior Infant
You could forget numbers if you do not use them. They are not anywhere – they are in your mind – Junior Infant
They go into your brain and help you think – Second Class
They go into someone else’s brain - Junior Infants
They go into a different part of your brain - Senior Infants
They go into your brain – Senior Infants
I remember numbers by pushing them into my head - Junior Infants
Sometimes you do forget things. I never forget numbers. - Second Class
If you are reading you forget sums. They just go out of your mind. – First Class