What is an abacus?
An abacus is used to help children with maths. It normally has beads that can be moved up and down and sometimes around. It is normally brightly coloured and made of wood. It is a very ancient ma thematic tool. The abacus is not like an electronic calculator, it is a tool to help visually see what has been counted and to remember how much has been counted.
Why use an Abacus?
Using an abacus is a different way to teach maths to children. Maths should be taught using a variety of resources from: songs, videos, worksheets and games. There is not one way to teach maths to younger children, so it is important to give them an opportunity to experience a variety of resources and ways to learn. Abacuses are great for children that like to learn via the kinesthetic method of learning – touching and feeling.
Who uses an abacus?
The abacus are used by many teachers and parents. However, it is not used in school as much as I think it should be. It is a great way to have hands on fun with maths. As the beads are brightly coloured they attracts young children and can get them interested in maths from an early age.
The history of the abacus
The abacus is an ancient tool that has been around for centuries. It was used in Africa and Asia by merchants selling in the market and by clerks. This was their form of an electric calculator! Some of the traders in the market wold have it attached to their side with string and use it to add, multiply and subtract. Nowadays, we no longer use the abacus in the workplace, but it is great way for children to learn adding , subtraction, multiplication and even fractions!
How to use an abacus with your child
You can use the abacus it as a simple adding and subtraction tool. You can count numbers to 20 forwards and backwards. You can portion beads and add on or subtract. Here is an abacus being used with a preschool child to count in twos and to 20.
What age group should use and abacus
You can use an abacus with a child from age of 4 to 6. That is when a child is just about to enter school or has entered school. The earlier you start a child with maths the better they will be when they have to enter secondary school at the age of 11 years old. Read about why early years maths is so important here. A firm grounding in maths is essential and an abacus is a great resource alongside other methods.
Maths is important to learn from an early age. An abacus is a resource that comes in handy for young children. Children love the bright colours and moving the beads around. This is definitely something that you should have in your tool box of resources to use for children. My youngest son always enjoyed playing with an abacus. He used it to add and subtract and even do fractions. He is now seventeen and taking A\’level maths! I am not saying that your child will take A\’level maths, but a good start helps with a good understanding and grounding in maths.