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The Abacus: The Art of Calculating with Beads

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Visit this site: http://www.ee.ryerson.ca/~elf/abacus/

Author:Luis Fernandes
Description: A tutorial on using the abacus - a calculator whose earliest known use is circa 500 B.C. by the Chinese civilization. Addition, subtraction, division and multiplication can be performed on a standard abacus. Beginning in about 1600 A.D., use and evolution of the abacus was begun by the Japanese. Archeological excavations have revealed an Aztec abacus, circa 900-1000 A.D., where the counters were made from kernels of maize threaded through a string that was attached to a wooden frame. Here on the Web, unlike a real abacus, the numeric value for each column is updated in the top frame. Addition and subtraction, with instructions; a contest (the abacus vs. the electric calculator); comparisons of the Japanese, Chinese, and Aztec abaci; source code; and resources (purchase an abacus; build one out of LEGO; books, links).

Levels: Elementary, Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Languages: English
Resource Types: Calculators, Manipulatives, Lesson Plans and Activities, Problems/Puzzles, Link Listings, Books, Reference Sources, Tutorials
Math Topics: Basic Operations, History and Biography

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