The Abacus Project

Since 2015, The DRANREF Foundation (TDF), a non-profit charitable and educational organization, has exposed over 2,000 students and 170 teachers to the ancient practices of problem solving. The Abacus Project is its signature program started in 2016. We aim to use the Japanese abacus, called a Soroban, to build confidence and boost achievement in black and brown students.

The Abacus Project invites students to explore Asian culture and mathematics through one of the world's oldest calculators.  Students build their own Soroban (Japanese Abacus) using colorful beads and craft sticks, and then uncover the ancient number system, watching their calculations come to life through strategic bead movement.

We offer sessions that introduce students to the Soroban and provide practice materials to extend the learning experience to home.  We offer more robust programs that measure the impact based on pre-and post- math assessments.  Professional Development Workshop for Teachers are also offered to area schools and community centers to help scale the project and our reach.​

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"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." - Albert Einstein

Our Mission

Our mission is to use the Soroban (Japanese abacus) as an instructional tool to build confidence and boost achievement in black and brown students.

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Our Vision

 We believe that if we help students perform on grade level by 3rd grade, then students are more likely to stay on course through high school.  Our research shows that early math achievement is the greatest predictor of later academic achievement. Consistent difficulty in math during elementary school is associated with higher dropout rates and lower college entrances - even more so than consistent difficulties in reading.

Black Kids Count

The Abacus Project believes in fighting for good and empowering today's youth. Without a doubt, black kids count! In a time where answers are few, we reach out and reveal to children what's already there - their potential to persist and become successful problem solvers and math students. We invite them to create, think and discover.