The ABN Method to Help Children Learn Math

The ABN method is being widely used in many schools to help children learn math in a playful way. If you want to know what the method consists of and what you can do at home to reinforce this knowledge, read on.
The ABN Method to Help Children Learn Math

Last update: 20 February, 2021

Mathematics is usually one of the most difficult subjects for elementary and high school students to learn. Nowadays, there’s the ABN method to help children learn math from kindergarten onwards.

This methodology arises from the idea of promoting mental arithmetic in children using objects we have at home (toothpicks, clothespins, buttons, etc.). This procedure is called “Method of Algorithms Based on Numbers,” and was created by the teacher and philosopher Jaime Montero.

From this perspective, the idea is for children to learn mathematics in a natural way and at their own pace, through manipulable objects and familiar situations. Do you want to know more about this procedure? Keep reading this article.

How is the ABN method applied to learning mathematics?

In schools, this method begins to be applied from the first stages of kindergarten and continues until 6th grade, when students begin to learn concepts for beginning high school. The aim is for children to improve their mathematical abilities before they reach the high school stage.

With this method, we can find the solution to problems in different ways, since it’s an open system. It goes from easy to difficult and from concrete to abstract. There’s a very measured sequencing to add difficulty.

The ABN Method to Help Children Learn Math

This mathematical approach is based on everyday life, in a hands-on way, and with materials that are easy to find and available to everyone.

Why did this method arise?

It arises to give a solution to the problems that occur with the traditional method of calculation, such as:

  • Lack of reasoning capacity when solving mathematical problems
  • Low results obtained in the subject of mathematics
  • The negative attitude that children have towards learning this subject, as they find it difficult
  • Low mental arithmetic ability among the general population

Benefits of the ABN method

  • It makes the subject of math fun to learn. They’re games that are increasing in difficulty, which is a challenge for them and will provide them with motivation to achieve each one.
  • This method adapts to the student. There’s more than one way to find the result; the child chooses which path to follow to solve the problem.
  • It improves calculation skills.
  • It increases children’s creativity. As it’s an open method in which there’s no fixed sequence, children can create new operations that make the procedure simpler.
  • Improves self-confidence. They lose the fear of facing mathematical operations because they see them as a game.
  • It gives quality to learning. All of the above allows them to move up a level and advance in their natural learning for later stages.
  • Increases the satisfaction of both parents and teachers, as they see the progress of their children.

What activities can we do at home to help children learn math according to the ABN method?

Number houses

This activity consists of making little elongated houses with the numbers we’re interested in working with, for example, 5, 6, 7. Once we’ve made them, we’ll laminate them. Then we’ll make combinations of numbers that will give us the number we’ve chosen.

The ABN Method to Help Children Learn Math

For example, if we choose the number 5, we’ll have these combinations: 0-5, 1-4, 2-3, 3-2, 4-1, 5-0. All of these will result in a 5 when added together. These numbers will have Velcro on them, just like the house. The children will have to put the numbers in place so that they add up to the number 5.

Making a series of bottle tops with numbers

On the tops of the plastic bottles, we’ll put a series of numbers, according to our child’s academic level and abilities. For example, from 1 to 50. Then, we’ll put all the numbers on the tips and then we can ask our child to arrange the numbers counting by fives, or from 10 to 20, etc.

Clothespins with numbers

In this activity, we’ll take numbers and write them on clothespins. Then, on blank sheets of paper, we’ll put little dots so that they can associate the number of dots with the number on the clothespin.

In short, the ABN method is a very good tool to apply at home, just as they do at school. It can be applied from the age of 3 and the activities can be adapted. In this article, we’ve mentioned a few ideas, but there are many more. You can continue researching this method to apply it with your children and make it easier for them to learn mathematics.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.