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Multiplication with an Early Modern Counting Board


Before the rise of literacy rates, counting boards such as the one featured in the video were the most common way to perform arithmetic. After pen-and-paper arithmetic replaced counting boards, Arabic numerals also became dominant throughout Europe. 

Students can make their own counting board and use pennies or other coins to solve math problems like those in the video. This will help students consider the development of mathematical practices and that culture and outside influences helped shape the way people perform arithmetic. 

This source is part of the History of Pre-Modern Math Methods module. 


"Multiplication with an Early Modern Counting Board," Youtube Video, 5:27, posted by Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Oct. 26, 2022,

How to Cite This Source

"Multiplication with an Early Modern Counting Board ," in World History Commons, [accessed June 13, 2024]