DIY Abacus

I love abaci (abacuses?). They can be used for so many things. My only problem with abaci is that they are pretty expensive, especially for a first-year teacher. I have five wooden abaci in my class and have tried to have the kids use them in groups and it just wasn't working.  I had to figure out a way to get one in every students' hands. 

Items to Gather:

  • Per abacus:
  • 1 Sheet of Corrugated Plastic (any size you'd like. Mine were  5.75" x 3.5")
  • 10 Pipe Cleaners (cut in half)
  • 10 Drink Stirrers
  • 100 Pony Beads


1.  Start off by putting the pipe cleaners in the middle of the drink stirrers.

2.  Put one end of the stirrer/cleaner combo into the corrugated plastic and bend at a 90 degree angle.

3.  Thread 10 beads on the drink stirrer and bend the other end.

4.  This part can be a little tricky, but put the other end of the pipe cleaner into the other side of the corrugated plastic. Make sure to hold the end that is already in and not to pull too hard.

5.  Repeat until you have 10 rows.  

Other Tips/Suggestions:

I had my kiddos do this project in two parts and it worked out fabulously!

Hope you have fun creating this wonderful tool with your students!,

It's Grow Time!

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