Abacus Primer

The abacus is an ancient tool for doing calculations. This activity uses a simplified abacus to teach place value. Each bead represents 1 in the given place, and students can use it to get a visual understanding that 10 beads in a given place (1s, 10s, 100s) can be represented by a single bead in the place to its left (10s, 100s, 1000s).

Grades covered: through 3
Curriculum Topics: Math, Place value, Historical math tools, Addition


Idea Sheets are cross-referenced to subjects listed in the Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, and California Content Standards.

Categories include:
  • Grades K-2
  • Grades 3-5
  • Math
Tags: Addition & Subtraction, Place Value
Subjects covered: ["Math","Social Studies"]