[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2010-04-07

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Thu Apr 8 08:49:02 EDT 2010

==Sugar Digest==

1. I was at my mother's house last week when I stumbled across a book
that my grandmother had given me as a child: ''How to use the Chinese
Abacus'' by F. S. Tom, published in Hong Kong in 1956 by Chong Jan
Limited. It is a simple, illustrated guide to addition, subtraction,
multiplication, and division on a Chinese abacus.

Reinspired, I spent an afternoon writing an Abacus Activity (You can
download from http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/addon/4293/).

The Abacus Activity lets the learner explore different representations
of numbers using different mechanical counting systems (originally
developed by the ancient Romans and Chinese). I made several different
variants available for exploration: a suanpan, the traditional Chinese
abacus with two beads on top and five beads below; a soroban, the
traditional Japanese abacus with one bead on top and four beads below;
the schety, the traditional Russian abacus, with ten beads per column,
with the exception of one column with just four beads used for
counting in fourths, and the nepohualtzintzin, the traditional Mayan
abacus, with three beads on top and four beads below. (The
nepohualtzintzin uses base 20.)

I've begun to write instructions on how to use the abacus in the wiki
(See http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Activities/Abacus). Please
contribute your favorite abacus experiences.

2. I saw Paul Commons in Miami this week at a meeting at One Laptop
per Child. We were trading Sugar stories and he relayed one from the
OLPC Corps: they use the Memorize Activity to learn the names of the
children they are working with. First they take pictures of the
children with Record and then make a deck of cards for Memorize,
pairing names with pictures. Very clever.

===In the community===

3. Laurence Buchmann has posted her wonderful video of last year's
SugarCamp Paris (See
Un jour a Paris ensembles pour OLPC tech).

4. We will be holding a Sugar oversight-board meeting in Cambridge on
Tuesday morning, 13 April. Please contact me if you are interested in
attending in person.

===Help wanted===

5. There has been interest expressed in a Sugar program for children
to teach their parents to read. Does anyone have any experience with
such a program?

===Sugar Labs===

6. Gary Martin has generated a self-organizing map (SOM) from the past
week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (See

7. Visit our planet for more updates about Sugar and Sugar deployments
(See http://planet.sugarlabs.org).


Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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