Make Your Own Rekenrek!

Jan 31, 2014

What the HECK is a Rekenrek??The Rekenrek has recently emerged on the US mathematical scene as one of the most powerful of all manipulative models for our young students. It was originally developed by math educators and researchers in the Netherlands (although similar types were used in ancient cultures).  The Rekenrek combines various types of manipulatives such as a number line, base ten blocks, counters, etc. into one great accessible tool.

The Rekenrek is created with two strings of ten beads each, usually broken into two groups: 5 red beads and 5 white beads. The idea is for students to link together the concepts of the group of 5 and 10 to create new numbers or combinations. This is a great tool to help students learn how to Subitize (instant recognition of number quantity).
Let’s Make A Rekenrek! Easy as Pie…7 simple steps!
During my TIPM3 (Teaching Meaning Mathematics Course at Wayne RESA) the teachers made 30 Rekenreks to take back to use in their classrooms this week. I took pictures of each step in hopes you can make them for your students! Enjoy!

Step #1: Cut a thick poster presentation board to about a 4×11 size unless you want it bigger

(if doing a LOT use a circular saw to cut them faster)

Step 2: Put in 4 holes using a ice pick or nail, make sure they line up and at least a half inch from the edge.

Step 3: Take Twine or shoe lace and put it through on of the holes.

Step 4: Lace 5 beads of one color (red) and 5 beads of another color (black). A nice wooden bead works best verses pony beads because they are too small.

Step 5: When done put the other end of the twine or lace through the hole on the other side of the board (lined up)

Step 6: Turn over the Rekenrek and tie the twine or the lace in two knots on the back and cut the access.

Step 7: Repeat steps 4-6 with the other row and, voila, you have a Rekenrek for under a $1.00

There are great Rekenrek activities online. Check out these links to learn more about this amazing numeracy tool!

Lot of Activities:

SMART Board Lessons:

Great YouTube Video:


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