EdPlace's Year 4 Home Learning Maths Lesson: Roman Numerals

Looking for short lessons to keep your child engaged and learning? Our experienced team of teachers have created English, maths and science lessons for the home, so your child can learn no matter where they are.  And, as all activities are self-marked, you really can encourage your child to be an independent learner. Get them started on the lesson below and then jump into our teacher-created activities to practice what they've learnt. We've recommended five to ensure they feel secure in their knowledge - 5-a-day helps keeps the learning loss at bay (or so we think!).

Are they keen to start practising straight away? Head to the bottom of the page to find the activities. 

Now...onto the lesson!

Key Stage 2 Statutory Requirements for Maths
Year 4 students should be able to read Roman numerals up to 100 (I to C) and know that, over time, the numeral system changed to include the concept of zero and place value.


Roman numerals - what are they used for and how do we read them?

In everyday life, we often see Roman numerals up to 12 used on clocks. However, being able to use Roman numerals up to 100 is a key objective in year 4 and the rules for reading Roman numerals can be rather confusing. At EdPlace, we're surrounded by a team of experts who communicate these concepts with children on a day-to-day basis, and we're ready to share their teaching gems with you. Follow the step-by-step guide below to make working with Roman numerals as easy as pie!

Every good lesson has a purpose or an objective. We're confident by the end of this lesson, that your child will...

1) Understand how to read common Roman numerals 1-100

2) Apply this understanding to read and write more complicated numerals using a set of rules

3) Explain how to use the rules to write any number up to 100!


Step 1 - Key terminology

Before we jump into reading Roman numerals it’s important to check that your child understands what the key terminology and letters in Roman numerals mean.

- In Roman numerals, letters are used in place of numbers.

- Each letter has a value.

- The number zero does not have its own Roman numeral letter.

- Roman numerals are read from left to right

- When a letter with a lower value is placed before a higher value letter, this means we have to count back or subtract. When the lower value letter is placed after a higher value letter we have to add or count on

If all this sounds confusing, take a look at our examples below:

V = 5 and I = 1

So, VI = 6 because VI means one more than 5

But, IV = 4 because IV means one less than 5

Also, letters cannot be repeated more than 3 times in a row.

So, we would write 9 as IX (one less than ten) rather than VIIII (four more than five)


Step 2 -  Check your child's prior understanding

In year 3, children will have been taught to use Roman numerals from 1-12 to tell the time on analogue clocks. The diagram below shows how the numbers 1-12 are represented using Roman numerals:

Notice how the numbers 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12 all use the counting on and back rule to combine more than one letter to represent a number.


Step 3 - How to write Roman numerals...

As we have already mentioned, Roman numerals are seen in everyday life on clocks and other numbers used to label things. They appear in the National Curriculum for the first time in Year 3 but by the end of year 4, your child will be expected to be able to read and write numbers up to 100 using Roman numerals. So, this means we’ll need some more letters! The following chart shows the extra letters children will need to make numbers up to 100.

Here are some examples of some numbers up to 100 represented using the Roman numerals and the rules we’ve already covered in step 1.


Step 4 - Putting it into practise...

Why not apply the above to the following Roman numeral questions together?

a) What number does LIII represent?

b) John sees the number LXXV on a sign. What number is this?

c) Jill writes out the 10 times table up to 10 x 10, which number has she missed out?


d) Samir is writing a calculation using Roman numerals and writes XXXIV + XLI. What would be his calculation and total?


Step 5 - Give it a go...

Now that you’ve covered this lesson together, why not put this to the test and assign your child the following 5 Roman numerals activities in this order? All activities are created by teachers and automatically marked. Plus, with an EdPlace subscription, we can automatically progress your child at a level that's right for them. Sending you progress reports along the way so you can track and measure progress, together - brilliant!

Activity 1 - Roman Numerals 1 to 50 (1)

Activity 2 - Roman Numerals 1 to 50 (2)

Activity 3 - Roman Numerals 1 to 100 (1)

Activity 4 - Roman Numerals 1 to 100 (2)

Activity 5 - Roman Numerals: I to M



a) LIII represents 53. L = 50 and III = 3.

b) LXXV represents 75. 50 + 10 + 10 + 5 = 75.

c) Jill has missed out 60 which would be represented by LX (50 + 10).

d) XXXIV + XLI represents 34 + 41. So, the total would be 75, or LXXV.


Keep going! Looking for more activities, different subjects or year groups?

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All English, maths and science from Year 1 - GCSE