iPads and abacus fusing the ancient and modern to explore percentages in kindergarten.

The children and I were engaged in a conversation regarding the iPads. Why do they go flat? How could we stop this happening? When should we charge the iPads? I found myself saying the iPad were “low on juice.” The children laughed at my expression and said the iPad didn’t drink juice you need to charge them. Our iPads are set up to the show the battery and the percentage. The children made the connection between the battery and power, but how could they understand percentages?

The abacus and the iPad may seem unusual partners but we were able to marry the ancient with the modern to represent the charge on the iPad. We have been exploring ways of representing numbers. The children have been making number patterns with the abacus and during this exploration made the discovery that the Slavic abacus has ten rows of ten.

I explained that percentage means of of one hundred and we could show how much charge was left by using the abacus, which also represent one hundred. We picked up an iPad and the children read the percentage. We then represented the percentage of charge left on the abacus. The children then had a clear way of assessing the charge. The children decided that eleven percent was “really low” and ninety five percent was “loads”. We have agreed to start charging the iPads if they reach twenty percent.

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