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Topic: How I use the abacus in teacher-ed
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jun 23, 1995 9:57 AM

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 Karen Dee Michalowicz Posts: 215 Registered: 12/4/04
How I use the abacus in teacher-ed
Posted: Jun 23, 1995 7:08 AM

Dear Colleagues,

I have been gone for a week on a math tour of England with six
students. This is a project I do every year. I always come
home so refreshed.

I came home to 179 messages in my mail box from the NCTM-l. I
enjoyed reading every piece of mail. Even though I disagree with some of
the comments, I still enjoy knowing what you all think.

Anyway, I enjoyed the thread on Chinese mathematics. I believe
we can learn much about mathematics by looking at her history.
(Off, bandwagon.)

On Sunday I will begin teaching a week course for our SSI
program in Virginia. I will begin with a lesson on how to add
and subract using the
abacus. I have a classroom set that I made using hobby beads,
dowl rods and corner molding. I do this because I want the
teachers to understand how important place value is to a
student's education. To be able to use the abacus efficiently,
the user must have a good sense of place value; he/she must
be able to group and regroup, to be able to decompose numbers.
For example, the user must understand that and 11 is 3+8 or 5+6
or 20-9 or 12-1.

I don't tell my teachers why I am doing the activity. I tell
them it is important to learn about ancient technology, which
incidently was used in Europe through the 17 century and called
Hindu-Arabic numbers were in use also. Children and adults
love to learn to use the abacus.

When I begin to do complex problems that require complex
regrouping, many teachers find it very difficult. This is when
I bring out my real reason for teaching the abacus to them. I
want them to understand that if they find regrouping difficult,
their students must have similar difficulties. My point is how
important numbersense is.

Now, this requires research, however, I suggest those cultures
who begin their math training using an abacus or similar ten
frame may have an edge on those societies that don't.

Thanks to Annie who is doing a super job keeping all of us on
mathematics education. And, most of all I appreciate this
opportunity to learn from such a great group of educators.
Also, I notice that many who post in this group are NCSM
members.
--

Cheers!

Karen Dee

Math History Lives!

Karen Dee Michalowicz VQUEST Math Lead Teacher/Trainer
Upper School Mathematics Chair Virginia Quality Education
The Langley School in Sciences and Technology
1411 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, VA
22012 USA
703-356-1920(w) E-Mail: kmichalo@pen.k12.va.us
Fax: (703) 790-9712 --or-- KarenDM@aol.com

Date Subject Author
6/23/95 Karen Dee Michalowicz
6/23/95 Michael Moy 24-Feb-1995 1532