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APH Abacus Bee

10 students of varying ages and races, standing and wearing Abacus Bee medals around their necks.
APH Abacus Bee Finalists 2022

What is the Abacus Bee and how does it work?

The APH Abacus Bee is a fun and engaging competition designed to ignite a passion for mathematics in students who are blind or have low vision. By allowing the use of various formats like print, braille, UEB math, or Nemeth code, the competition ensures that participants can use methods that suit their individual learning styles. The APH Abacus Bee encourages the use of mental math and abacus skills, unlocking students’ full mathematical potential. To learn more, check out Calculating Confidence article.

The APH Abacus Bee is divided into two phases. The preliminary regional contests, organized by partner organizations or schools, provide a platform for students to compete locally and showcase their skills within their communities. This phase not only fosters healthy competition but also allows students to meet and engage with other students from their region!

Finalists from each region will gather in Louisville, KY between March 21-24, 2024, to compete in the National Abacus Bee Final. 

Does this sound like something a student you know would enjoy? Encourage them to join the excitement, boost their confidence, and let the APH Abacus Bee inspire their journey into the fascinating world of mathematics and beyond!

  • Six different regional competitions were hosted across the country in 2023, in: Florida, New Jersey, Maryland, Kentucky, Washington, and Iowa. All APH Abacus Bee competitions had five categories, which were based on skill level: starters, movers, riders, flyers, and blaster. This tiered approach ensured students were competing against their peers with similar skill levels, making the competition fair and encouraging for everyone involved.

  • Even though each competition varied in size and location, there was one common theme amongst them all: CONFIDENCE. When asked, the regional coordinators and participants’ families all commented on how much of a confidence boost it was for the students to compete and show off their talents. Don’t just take our word for it, here’s what some of student participants and their families had to say about their experience:

    • “I met other nice students and liked how everyone got an award. I used a great mental math strategy that helped me to do great in the Oral (Space Race) Round!”
    • “For me personally, this shared experience with my granddaughter truly opened my eyes to the challenges she faces now and will carry throughout life, but also all the massively inspiring young people and volunteers I met, this was a humbling experience and so grateful I was able to attend.”
    • “I am always encouraged by being with other families who are going through similar situations. We reminisce, collaborate, encourage, and commiserate together.”
    • “I am thrilled to see children like my son be successful and learn from other kids with visual impairments.”
    • “I have found any time there is an opportunity for families and professionals to interact in support of our youth, I always learn something new!”
  • APH is pleased to invite 31 finalists to the Abacus Bee Finals event in Louisville, KY on March 21-24. Finalists and a parent/guardian need to be registered by January 31st. Family members who join the contestants are invited to attend a workshop that we are putting together specifically for them on March 23rd. We have finalists coming from each of our participating regionals. Here’s the breakdown of who is coming and from where!

    Finalists by State:

    • Florida | 9
    • Kentucky | 6
    • New Jersey | 2
    • Washington | 5
    • Maryland | 3
    • Iowa | 6

    If you have questions regarding the finals event, please contact our Northcentral Region Outreach Specialist, Jennifer Brooks​ at Jbrooks@aph.org.

  • This program was supported by the Simons Foundation. Their mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. Since its founding in 1994 by Jim and Marilyn Simons, the foundation has been a champion of basic science through grant funding, support for research and public engagement.

    Simons Foundation logo

  • Contact our Northcentral Region Outreach Specialist, Jennifer Brooks​ at Jbrooks@aph.org for more info.