Let’s go back in time with an old school calculator, that handy tool the 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!

Materials:

Make a very simple DIY abacus and learn how to use it to add numbers.

  • empty crayon box
  • paint (optional)
  • scissors
  • tape
  • pony beads
  • bamboo skewers
  • pin/toothpick
  • pencil and ruler

Instructions

        1. Open up all the flaps of your crayon box and cut off the back piece.Make a very simple DIY abacus and learn how to use it to add numbers.
        2. Fold the top and bottom flaps back under and secure to the sides and inside of box with tape.Make a very simple DIY abacus and learn how to use it to add numbers.
        3. (Optional) Paint the inside of your box. Let dry.
        4. 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. Make a very simple DIY abacus and learn how to use it to add numbers.Make a very simple DIY abacus and learn how to use it to add numbers.
        5. 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 skewerMake a very simple DIY abacus and learn how to use it to add numbers.Make a very simple DIY abacus and learn how to use it to add numbers.
        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. Make a very simple DIY abacus and learn how to use it to add numbers.

    Make a very simple DIY abacus and learn how to use it to add numbers.

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