Monday, April 20, 2015

Mancala-Style Abacus

I have blogged before about my friend Jeffrey Weitzel and his local banjo making business.

His work had a slow point last Winter, and my family's account with Fidelity Charitable had grown with the stock market in 2014.  So I commissioned him to make a special set of abacuses for Edgewood Elementary School.  I sent money from Fidelity Charitable to the school to cover the cost.

A normal abacus is dreadful in a room full of first graders.  When jostled its beads move into the wrong places.  Flipped over it drives like a car.

But these mancala-style abacuses work great.  For several months my weekly volunteer time focused on teaching all three first-grade classrooms how to use them.  The kids learned about place value and adding numbers bigger than twenty.

Smiley has owned an abacus for about two years.  I had bought the fun Aba-Conundrums book for him.  That book also provided more fun things to do in the classrooms.

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