Chinese Abacus Project
Chinese abacus, made by kids at
Laurelhurst School, Portland Oregon
People in China began to use an abacus to help them with math problems maybe as early as 500 BC. Nobody knows whether somebody in China invented the abacus, or whether they learned about it from people in the Persian Empire (modern Iran), who started using the abacus about the same time.
Click here to see how to use an abacus for adding big numbers quickly.
You can make your own abacus by taking a wooden picture frame and fitting another piece of wood across it the long way so it fits tightly. You can glue it and nail it in place with small nails. Drill small holes all along the inside edges, and cut wires to fit. String beads on the wires and jam them into the holes.
Other activities:* Paper-making
* Making a compass
* Making a kite