What is a rekenrek? Developed in Holland, this arithmetic calculating frame was designed to support the natural mathematical development of children. As children work with rekenreks, they are able to generate a variety of addition and subtraction strategies. Unlike worksheets and flashcards, the rekenrek supports young learners with the visual models they need to discover number relationships. (Source: Math Learning Center)
The rekenrek features two rows of 10 beads, each broken into two sets of five. Children begin to see the quantity of five as a whole. One more makes six, one less is four. Two sets of five equals 10, and soon. We often begin our math workshops with “Rock the Rekenrek!”. I slide over beads and ask, “How many? How do you know?” The responses I might receive: “It’s seven, because five plus two more is seven” -- or -- "It's nine because there was one bead left on the other side."