Innovative lesson for an Abacus

This blog piece is written by Rachel Sneyd. Rachel is currently completing an undergraduate degree in History and Politics at Trinity College Dublin. She is a keen writer and has just submitted her first teen-fiction novel for publication.

I set the team a task of thinking of an innovative lesson or use of a new toy, abacus – especially not for maths!

Rachel was thinking about using it for younger kids as a way of measuring progress/encouraging them to push themselves. If a student is having particular trouble writing, you could use it to build up the number of sentences/words they’ll write and if they’re having trouble reading you could use it to get them to read more paragraphs/pages/poems and so on!

So all the beads would be on the left hand side on the first day. You’d get them to read or write as much as they’re willing to. Then you would move one bead from the top row to the right hand side for every sentence written/poem read etc.

The next day you would reset the abacus to show how they got on the week before and then challenge them to do better, so maybe this time you will move three beads over instead of two. As the weeks go on they will be able to clearly see that they are improving and hopefully they will be motivated to beat their own scores!

Brilliant – Just the sort of idea I was looking for!