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Roman Numerals Lesson

Hint: V Means 5

Teachers are well acquainted with different note-taking structures: outline, Cornell, boxing, charting, and mapping. Each has pros and cons for students taking notes from lectures or texts. However, the most commonly used structure for published materials is the alphanumeric outline. Students need to understand the hierarchy of the letter and number symbols to properly read and interpret these structured summaries. Plus, students need to know the Roman numerals.

Alphanumeric Outlines and Using Roman Numerals

Common Core Language Standard 2                            

Learning how to take notes from reading and lectures is essential to your success as a student. Notes are summaries of the key ideas and include main points, major details, and minor details. We often use symbols to represent these levels of organization.

Today’s mechanics lesson is on using Roman numerals in alphanumeric outlines to indicate levels of ideas.

Now let’s read the mechanics lesson, study the examples. and complete the practice exercises.

Alphanumeric Outlines use numbers, letters, and periods to organize information. The first letter of the word, group of words, or sentence that follows each symbol is capitalized.

  • Main ideas are listed as Roman numerals on the left margin and are followed by periods. Each Roman numeral can be repeated up to three times in a row. Examples: For 1–10 I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X.
  • Major details are listed as capital letters and are indented on the lines below the main ideas. Major details modify the main ideas. Modify means to describe, change, or limit. The Arabic numerals are capitalized and are followed by periods. Examples: A., B., C.
  • The first minor detail modifies the major detail and is double indented on the next line. It begins with the Arabic numeral 1 followed by a period.
  • The second minor detail is double indented on the next line and listed as 2.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to the lesson.

Practice: The sixth main idea is IV; the fourth major detail is d; and the third minor detail is 3.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Mechanics Practice Answers: The sixth main idea is VI; the fourth major detail is D; and the third minor detail is 3.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own alphanumeric outline to describe your favorite ice cream flavors.

Lesson Extension

By tradition, movies include Roman numerals to indicate the year in which the movie was released. To determine the year, you’ve got to know a few more symbols. M = 1,000; D = 500; C = 100; and L = 50. 

Example: MDCDLXXXVI = MD (1,000 + 500 = 1,500); CD (500 – 100 = 400); LXXX (50 + 30 = 80); VI = 6 or 1986.

Practice: Write the year of release for these Academy Award winning movies in Arabic numerals:

  1. Gone with the Wind: MCMXLI
  2. Citizen Kane: MCMXLI
  3. Titanic: MCMXCVII
  4. Little Women: MMXIX


What is the longest Roman numeral between 0 B.C.E. and this year?

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary   Grades 4‒8 programs.

Practice Answers:

  1. Gone with the Wind: 1939
  2. Citizen Kane: 1941
  3. Titanic: 1997
  4. Little Women: 2019


Check out this great Roman numerals converter: https://www.rapidtables.com/convert/number/roman-numerals-converter.html 


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