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The Abacus (“Suanpan”)

Classroom ExercisesMath Exercise on the Abacus (“Suanpan”) [PDF] [University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign]
An illustrated guide to using the abacus (“suanpan” in Chinese).

VideoThe Abacus: How to Use This Ancient Wonder [YouTube]
Video demonstrating both Chinese and Japanese versions of the abacus.


Classroom ExercisesTangrams [PDF] [University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign]
In old China, the pieces for this game-puzzle were sometimes made of ivory, hand carved and inlaid with gold and jade. It was played by royalty. With a puzzle pattern for students to make and solve.

Tangram Game [PBS Kids]
An interactive website where students can solve tangram puzzles.

Magic Squares

Classroom ExercisesMagic Squares [PDF] [University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign]
A “magic square” is a square divided into multiple additional squares or blocks, each block containing one number. It is said to be “magic” when the numbers in a line or row of blocks add up to the same number horizontally, vertically and diagonally. This introductory guide to “magic squares” includes some puzzles for students to solve.

Anything But Square: From Magic Squares to Sudoku [+Plus Magazine]
For upper-elementary students, a more in-depth explanation of the mathematical principles behind the “magic square” and related number puzzles.

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