Friday, June 28, 2013

Radical Rekenreks!

So at a recent math workshop, I learned about a Rekenrek (which is basically an abacus with two colors).  It really helps build number sense which is great since we are getting away from rote math problems and focusing on the understanding of math and how numbers work.  It is genius to me and so I went about making a class set.  As I was making them, my own kids started working with them and I loved listening to them talk through problems.  They had so much fun with them they each requested I make one for them in their favorite color (which of course I did).  To see a quick YouTube video of a teacher describing how to use them click HERE.

To make my Rekenreks, I used foam board (don't worry... there were all colors, not just the pink), string, beads (pony beads) a hole punch and scissors.  My hole punch is small and fits the string nicely.  I had it from my old scrapbooking days.

Punch four holes like this.

Then string the beads making sure you keep five of each color on either side.

I tied them different ways but this was the best (and fastest).

Snip the excess!

My kindergartner played with his (he wanted yellow) forever!  I couldn't believe the way he was manipulating it after just minutes.  I put a quick video of his review of how to use the Rekenrek that you can see too by clicking HERE or looking below.  My bigger kids (going into 3rd and 4th) also really liked them.  I made them Rekenreks that went to 30.

I also plan to make a more sturdy one for me on the harder foam board and bigger beads.


  1. Hi Laura---we made similar Rekenreks for our Kindergarten students (and available for other grade levels--FYI--great place value tool) but instead of using string we used long pipe cleaners---no holes to punch as the pipe cleaners poke right through the foam board. Thanks for sharing---just another "tweaking" idea:)


Let me know what you think, and share your ideas!! (So that I can steal them!) ;-)
I'm sorry for the word verification on comments. This blog was getting too much spam to keep it off.