An abacus is a calculating tool that has been used for centuries. Learn how to make your own abacus and allow your children to practice fine motor skills, counting, and patterning. It’s a math lesson all on it’s own! Learn how to make your own with this tutorial.
There are many versions of the abacus.
What can you teach with an abacus?
An abacus is a great teaching tool for concrete thinkers. Here are a few of the many math concepts you can teach with an abacus:
- place value
- partitioning—breaking a number into its components such as 4 can be 0+4, 1+3, or 2+2
- build a stair-step pattern
How to make an abacus
- Cut a piece of cardboard or foam board to approximately 6″x9″.
- Cover the board with fabric or tissue paper (optional). Tape or glue the fabric or paper down on the back side.
- Thread ten beads onto a pipe cleaner. Use five beads each of two different colors.
- Repeat the process with nine more pipe cleaners.
- Turn the pipe cleaners so that the color pattern reverses for the last five rows.
- Lay the pipe cleaner on the cardboard and pinch it tightly around the sides of the cardboard.
- Tape the pipe cleaners down on the back for additional security.
Video tutorial to learn how to make an abacus
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