Abacus Fun

The abacus is one of the early counting devices that were invented to help count large numbers! A simple unit study on China led us on a quick rabbit trail exploring this fascinating device and even though it was rather brief, I thought I'd share the ideas because we really had a lot of fun! :-)

As an introduction, we read a delightful book from the Warlord's series of maths books by Virginia Walton Pilegard called The Warlord's Beads. All of the books in this series are equally enchanting and my children give them a big thumbs up- maths is great fun when you are giggling!

abacus, fun maths, make an abacus
The Warlord's Beads The Warlord's Beads is set in Ancient China and follows the story of a little boy who finds a much better way of helping his father keep count of the warlord's treasures than using his fingers and toes.

abacus,  fun maths, make an abacus

My children had lots of fun constructing their very own one out of popsicle sticks! The simple and clear instructions can be found here.They really turned out beautifully and we still use them! A great manipulative that can be used again and again as they are really sturdy- just one tip though- do use a good, strong wood glue and give them enough time to dry. We used washing pegs on ours and left them for a few hours before we used them.

We tried out a few sums with them too after watching this clip which explains how they work.

Have fun!

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