All about Abacus and importance of teaching kids Regarding Abacus

Alternatively referred as the counting frame, an abacus is a mechanical device used to assist a person in performing mathematical calculations and counting. It is still unknown who built the first abacus and when it was built. There is evidence of the abacus being used in Mesopotamia, for use with their sexagesimal numbering system. The abacus was also used in other early civilizations, including the Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Persian, and Roman civilizations.

History of Abacus

The Abacus was invented around 500.B.C. It was built out of wood and beads around 500.B.C. The Abacus helped people calculate large numbers. The abacus was invented.The Abacus was invented by a famous mathematician, Cheng Dawei. Cheng Dawei was worshiped in Japan as “the God of Arithmetics" and he is known as the great master of zhusan. The purpose of the Abacus was to calculate an answer for a math problem. The beads on the Abacus mean different place values, numbers, and etc. All the beads in the Abacus have a purpose in a math problem.

Basics of Abacus

To read the abacus, you'll look at which beads are moved where. Each column represents a different place value. The column to the far right represents the single units place value. The column next to that represents the tens place value. The middle column represents the hundreds place value.
The beads on the bottom are the numbers 1 to 5, while the beads on top represent 5 and 10 respectively. You move the top beads down and the bottom beads up to represent a number. If you pushed one bottom bead up in the tens column, you would have the number 10. If you pushed two bottom beads up from the hundreds column, you would have 200. If you pushed one top bead down from the tens column, you would have 50. To represent the number 15, you'd push the top two beads on the far right column down and push the bottom five beads up. You can also use two columns to make the number 15. You could push one bottom bead up from the second column from the right and five bottom beads up in the far right column.

Science Beyond Abacus

The brain consists of two hemispheres, the left and the right. The left side of the brain is used for logical processing, mathematic functions, sequencing, and linear processes. The left side of the brain is what is trained first when children are taught math traditionally. The right side of the brain is used for imagination, visualization, intuition, and rhythm. When children are taught the abacus, they are training the right side of their brain. The abacus taps into the need for visualization, imagination, (mental abacus) and intuition. According to Abacus in the Brain, “previous behavioral work has shown that skilled abacus users perform rapid and precise mental arithmetic by manipulating a mental representation of an abacus, which is based on visual imagery.”

Here are some important benefits of the abacus:

  • Higher sense of spatial reasoning
  • Highly developed long-term memory
  • Easily accessed short-term memory
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Independence

Why should I learn or teach the abacus?

Learning to use the abacus helps teach you a new way of counting and how to add and subtract using complementary numbers. By learning to solve problems in new ways, you can come up with better and often easier solutions to all sorts of Complex Mathematical Exercises.

How to use the abacus

Before learning to use the abacus, realize there are different types of abacus'. For example, the classical abacus or Chinese abacus has five beads on the bottom and two beads at the top. The modern abacus, Japanese abacus, or soroban has four beads at the bottom and one bead at the top. We are using the modern abacus for examples on this page.

The upper beads are called the "Heavenly beads" and are worth five in the first column. The lower beads are called "Earthly beads" and are each worth one in the first column. When moving a bead towards the middle bar (reckoning bar), it's considered counted and when no bead is touching the reckoning bar that column is equal to zero. The separation dots and off-colored beads vary depending on the abacus, but are always used to separate numbers into sets of three. These markers can also mark your first position if you do not want to start counting from the far right. The beads values start in the far right 1's column, which are beads valued between 1 and 9. Going from right-to-left the beads values increase to the 10's place, 100's place, 1,000's place, etc.