## The abacus in the school

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*or this short article on the abacus. In addition to explaining what it is and what it consists of, the proposal to build the abacus advances along with the b*

*ambini to become more responsible and aware of its use and meaning. It seemed important because even though it is a very simple text, it reiterates the importance of practice, of the direct experience of children with what they study.* The abacus is a very popular structured teaching material in elementary schools where it is used to group, count, number, compose, break down and later to perform subtraction and addition calculations, in practice to work with numbers. This educational tool greatly facilitates teaching activities by supporting learning and clarifying concepts. ** **

In commerce there are many types of abacus, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, but often it is better to build them ourselves with our children: the construction in fact makes schoolchildren more responsible, interests them and has a broader educational meaning. The abacus consists of a base, with at least 4 bars, each of which represents a numerical position and of balls of different colors to be inserted into the rods.

According to the teacher I interviewed, it is good to have different types of abacus in the classroom depending on the bases of the numbering that you want to use; for example the abacus of the base three, the abacus of the base five, the abacus of the base ten …

Each stick of the abacus, as mentioned before, represents a well-defined numerical position, so that, working with natural numbers, it is pre-arranged and it is agreed that the first stick, on the right for the beholder, is that of simple units, the second it is the one that gives the name to the base (of the tens in base ten, of the five in base five, of the triplets in base three, etc.); the third is that of the hundreds based on the ten, but more generally it is the one that represents the elevated base to the square; the fourth is that which represents the value of the base elevated to the cube (thousands in the case of the base ten).

Then there are several exercises that can be done with the abacus. First using the actual abacus (PRATICA) in the classroom and then with targeted exercises.