Stackable, colorful, playable, and oh so tactile... learning to count (among many other things)has never been more fun! Where is the joy in pressing a button and seeing an answer pop up? Okay, okay, maybe there is a little. But I guarantee you, when you do it by hand, or by Abacus for that matter, it's a whole lot more satisfying.
The Abacus is nothing new, in fact, it's the antithesis of new. With some historical references placing its use as far back as 300BCE, and common use documented as far back ad 1200AD, I feel like that's a fair, and wonderful statement to make. Think about it. As far back as Before Common Era, human beings used rows of counting beads to solve mathematical problems, it's ingenious. Simplicity in its greatest iteration. And the best part? No batteries required!
The Abacus has seen various forms of use, the earliest being counting boards. The most direct translation of Abacus meaning "sand tablet", or "sand board". Aptly named as the user marked out numbers and symbols in the sand on a board. The version we see today was invented by the Chinese around 1200 AD, and is still in use in street markets in many Asian countries.
Obviously the Abacus has long since been replaced by the modern computer or calculator. But I would argue (as would many), that the Abacus was the first computer, and therefore deserves its place on the pedestal of history. And might I add, every kids playroom. For those with a penchant for vintage, you can't go wrong with a colorful wooden object that teaches counting and math skills. But more than any of that, more than the history, is its perfect simplicity. The abacus is a simple and incredibly effective method by which to learn to count, to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and even find square roots. Calculators have severely hindered many a person's mental math abilities (I am very guilty here), so why not set a foundation in mental math from the get go? Your brain is way more fun to work with than a calculator, I promise!
And to top it all off? This Abacus, or set of Counting Beads, is just a little bit different. Instead of the fixed-frame classic version, this Abacus is stackable. Ten layers of colorful beads neatly stack one on top of the other. So have at it; break it down to one or two rows for the number newbies. Create patters with numbers and colors, for layers of learning. The possibilities are as limited as your imagination. Numbers are fun, and in this case, colorful and fully interactive. I honestly can't think of a better way to fall in love with math.
And the winner or our Ruler and Compass Giveaway is Diane who said:
"That is such a neat book. I would love a copy--both for homeschooling and for teaching (I'm a math prof)."
Thank you so much to everyone who participated!