The rekenrek, or arithmetic rack, was designed by Adrian Treffers, a mathematics curriculum researcher at the Freudenthal Institute in Holland, to support the natural development of number sense in children.

The rekenrek consists of two rows of 10 beads. Larger versions with ten rows of ten beads are also available. Each row is made of five red beads and five white beads. This allows students to make mental images of numbers. Using 5 and 10 as anchors for counting, adding and subtracting is obviously more efficient than one-by-one counting. This tool provides learners with the visual models they need to discover number relationships and develop a variety of addition and subtraction strategies, including doubles plus or minus one, making tens, and compensation, thereby leading to automaticity of basic facts.






Video of Ways to Use a Rekenrek

Great Introduction to Rekenreks

Rekenreks in Kindergarten