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About the work

National Museum of American History Object Description

In the nineteenth century, Americans began to teach groups of young children in classrooms. Some institutions were designed especially for these children, and were called infant schools. To create a vivid impression on young minds, teachers used a numeral frame or abacus in combination with a chart like this one.

This cardboard chart was part of a larger series. It has printing on both sides. It is labeled on one side: ARITHMETIC CARD II. This side shows a group of common objects on the left, and one of these objects on the right. It was designed to teach adding 1 to 6, 7, 8, and 9. Teachers were told to perform the same operation using balls on an abacus. The other ...

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