Home > Educational Projects > Make Your Own Abacus

Make Your Own Abacus

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 30 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Abacus Beads Maths Make Colour Teach

An abacus is a great way to teach children about Maths and also a fun project to make. They’re easy enough to make and play with at home and cheap enough that teachers can make them as a project with their whole class. This abacus should only take around one hour to make.

Here we address the basic abacus; Japanese or Chinese abacuses are more complicated and have their own counting systems. These abacuses are suitable for more advanced maths teaching. This simple abacus is a great way to get children thinking about adding, subtraction and multiplication.

You will need:

  • Four large lolly sticks or four smooth pieces of wood around 12 inches long (for a larger abacus)
  • Wood glue
  • 100 small coloured beads – in groups of five of the same colour
  • 10 barbecue skewers
  • Ruler
  • A pencil

Instructions

1.Take two of your wooden lolly sticks, a pencil and a ruler.
2. On two of your wooden or lolly sticks, make 10 pencil marks down the length, each of equal distance apart.
3. Put a thin line of glue along each of the pencil marks on one side of the abacus only.
4. Carefully stick a skewer on each glued pencil point on one side. Press down and allow to dry fully.
5. Carefully, tip the abacus on its side and slide ten beads onto each skewer, five of one colour and five of another.
6. Repeat steps three and four on the other side of the abacus and allow to dry thoroughly.
7. Take the remaining two lolly sticks or pieces of wood and glue them over the skewers. You should now be able to slide the beads along easily.
8. if the beads are cathcing glue some additional lolly sticks or wood on the underside to raise the abacus up.
9. Once the glue is dry, your abacus is ready to use.

Abacus Tips

Most of the materials used to make an abacus here are safe. However, children should still be supervised. Allowing the children to make their own abacus (although they might need some help) can engage them with the subject as they are more likely to be proud of and want to use something they made themselves.

Using five beads of one colour and five of another on each row helps children to see numbers easily by eye. (They can see, for example, that 5+2 = 7 without having to count). You can also use the abacus to do simple multiplications, for example 4x5 or 9x6, just by separating off the beads of each row.

You could also use cardboard instead of lolly sticks and pipe cleaners instead of skewers. If you're making them as a class, don't forget to ask the children to put their name on the abacus they have made. They can also decorate the lolly sticks if they want to individualise their abacus.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • CHIB
    Re: Make Your Own Organic Compost
    Autumn is the best time for this kind of work. Forking in some well rotted horse manure, well rotted leaf mould if you are able…
    28 January 2018
  • MakingYourOwn
    Re: Make Your Own Puppets
    HRMS44 - Your Question:Good Afternoon,I am hoping to make embroidered finger and glove puppets out of certified embroidery thread and…
    17 January 2018
  • HRMS44
    Re: Make Your Own Puppets
    Good Afternoon, I am hoping to make embroidered finger and glove puppets out of certified embroidery thread and certified felt. As these…
    15 January 2018
  • JanPez
    Re: Make Your Own Sloe Gin
    I’ve got some damson gin on the go, which I intend to leave until next year. In fact I have a few different convictions on the go. My…
    11 October 2017
  • MakingYourOwn
    Re: Make Your Own Washing Powder & Fabric Conditioner
    Jo - Your Question:I would like to know how much gram of soap do you use?Thank uOur Response:An
    3 July 2017
  • Cornish
    Re: Make Your Own Sloe Gin
    I have dregs of bottle of homemade sloe gin; can I top up with more gin and keep it going? If so do I need to add sugar as if starting…
    20 June 2017
  • Tanya
    Re: Make Your Own Periscope and Kaleidoscope
    Very easy to make and interesting.
    8 June 2017
  • Parrot
    Re: Make Your Own Sloe Gin
    Hi, I've just decanted sloe gin and slodka made in 2013. It is natural, unsweetened and the gin is delicious, and the vodka is much…
    6 June 2017
  • MakingYourOwn
    Re: Make Your Own Fudge
    GVallen - Your Question:This is quite honestly the WORST fudge recipe I have ever come across, it completely ruined our best pan and didn't…
    27 March 2017
  • GVallen
    Re: Make Your Own Fudge
    This is quite honestly the WORST fudge recipe I have ever come across, it completely ruined our best pan and didn't even work! Even at over…
    25 March 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the MakingYourOwn website. Please read our Disclaimer.