Does your child get a stream of projects from school? This is so true in our home. The kids and I have to think on our feet, research the internet to reach ‘Mission accomplished!’ status. Only recently, The little one who is in grade 2 had to make an Abacus and a Geoboard as part of Math project. Unfortunately, I’m not at all craft oriented and projects like these give me anxiety attacks. Thoughts of my daughter carrying some horribly misshapen monstrosity have robbed me of my sleep, many a night. If a craft-challenged person like myself can get it done, so can you!
For starters, I had no clue what a geoboard is. Turns out it is a board with evenly spaced out nails on which children can explore shapes and other plane geometry concepts. My second grader was asked to use drawing pins for her geoboard on shapes. I was worried my daughter would hurt her fingers, so using a cardboard as many people suggested was not tried. Instead, I looked around for a box. A doughnut box was flipped and the sides taped. I used a graph sheet to space out the drawing pins. The children chipped in, though it was not very easy for them to drive the pins in. Once we were done we removed the graph paper, which turned out to be quite cumbersome. We removed the pins, the graph sheet and repinned the pins. It turned out to be easier.
Next, we took loom band rubber bands to make the shapes. We had fun for a while making all kinds of shapes. The pins seemed to be getting uprooted with the pull of the rubber bands. So we switched over to wool. Roll the wool over one pin, using it as an anchor. Then craft it into a shape of your choice, and make a few rounds again over the last pin to close it. You can knot it, to make it more secure. Our geoboard was looking good!
Next, we set out to make the abacus. We used the pbskids.org abacus video to make our pocket abacus.
Again, we hunted down a box to start with. An old mobile phone box came in handy. We used the bottom to get started. Then we got out 3 bamboo skewers since her abacus needed to count till 999; you can add more rows if you’d like to go higher up the place values. Dad chipped in to mark the skewers point of entry evenly on the side panel and pierce it through.
The children put in 10 counting beads through each stick. The beads were notoriously tough to get. We did try straw beads (not very appealing) and quilling beads (too cumbersome to make); Ask for counting beads and you might get lucky, though you need to buy the entire string. The skewers were pierced through the other end. The skewers were cut from both sides and we applied glue either side of the sick to secure the beads. We used Feviquick; Superglue or any adhesive can be used. Ta-dah, the pocket abacus was ready to be used.
Our daughter quickly learned how to represent numbers and add. She played with it for a long time and was unhappy to submit it.
Oddly, we had great fun too. We scouted the neighborhood stores together for some of the things. We each did what we were good at; scouting for how-to; collecting the resources; sitting to do the work and so on. Though we started out with trepidation, the results were quite wonderful.