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Pocket Abacus

The abacus is an ancient counting tool, in use since 2700 B.C and still used today by merchants in parts of the world.  Today we are making a very simple DIY abacus that you can keep in your pocket or backpack this school year. Wouldn’t your teacher be surprised if you pulled this out while learning math? And just in case you don’t know how to use it, watch our tutorial and learn how to do addition on an abacus!

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Materials:

empty crayon box

paint (optional)

scissors

tape

pony beads

bamboo skewers

pin/toothpick

pencil and ruler

Instructions:

Open up all the flaps of your crayon box and cut off the back piece.

1

 

Fold the top and bottom flaps back under and secure to the sides and inside of box with tape.

2

 

(Optional) Paint the inside of your box. Let dry.

On the short sides of the box mark four equally spaced holes roughly 5/8” apart. Poke a hole at each mark with a pushpin then use a toothpick to enlarge the hole for the skewer.

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Push a skewer through one hole, thread 10 beads onto it, then thread it through the hole directly across from it. Hint: It helps to slowly turn the skewer as you push it through hole. Trim the end of the skewer

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6

 

Repeat step six with the remaining holes. To protect little hands against blunt skewer edges and keep the skewers in place, adults can add a dab of hot glue over the ends of each skewer.

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