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How To Use An Abacus? [Complete Guide 2022]


The abacus is a counting device, but before using one, you must learn how to use an abacus. All of mathematics is about having fun with numbers. Your ability to play with them cleverly will depend on you. An old tool used in mathematics is the abacus. How to use an abacus in Mathematics is covered in this guide.

The traditional construction of an abacus includes a frame that supports wires or rods on which moveable beads are positioned. As computations are made, the beads which represent digits are moved.

For thousands of years, people have used abacuses to count and compute. Who invented the abacus, in the beginning, is a subject of significant debate. There are valid claims that the abacus originated in China, Babylon, Greece, and a number of other nations. Here’s how to use an abacus.

How To Use An Abacus For Counting?

Mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are performed on it and counting. An abacus is a fantastic tool for teaching calculator usage to anyone, whether they are high school students or kindergarteners. It is helpful as a counting tool, as the name suggests.

We are aware that your interest in learning how to use an abacus is growing as you read. How to use an abacus is discussed in detail in this article. Let’s get into the details of how to use an abacus.

Orient Your Abacus Correctly

The top row’s columns should have one or two beads per row, while the bottom row’s columns should have four beads per row. When you begin, all the beads should be in the top row and bottom row, respectively. Individually the bead in the bottom row represents the number value 1, while those in the upper row each represent the value 5.

Place Values Should Be Given To Each Column

Every column of beads, like on a contemporary calculator, stands for a “place” value from which you construct a numeral. As a result, the “ones” column (1-9) would be the farthest column on the right, followed by the “tens” column (10-99), the “hundreds” column (100-999), and so on.

Alternatively, if necessary, you might designate specific columns as decimal places.

As an illustration, the first decimal place would be in the farthest right column for a value like 10.5, the ones in the second column, and the tens place in the third column.

Start Counting

Beads in the lower row should be used to begin counting. One bead must be moved to the “up” position in order to count a digit. A single bead from the bottom row in the farthest column to the right would be moved to the “up” position to symbolize “one,” a pair for “two,” and so on.

To move the beads in the bottom row and the top row, you should find it easy to use your thumb and index finger, respectively.

Count Five Or Six On Abacus

Finish off the “4/5 exchange.” The top row bead must be pushed to the “down” position to change the number from “four” to “five,” as there are only four beads on the bottom row. It is correct to read “five” on the abacus in this place. How to use an Abacus to count 6?Push a bead from the bottom row up to indicate the number “six.” The top row bead is down already (meaning a value of 5); when you move a bead from the bottom row up, it will represent count 6.

To Get Higher Numbers, Repeat The Sequence

Practically every abacus uses the same procedure. From “nine,” where all the beads in the one place are pushed up, and the bead in the top row is pushed down, to “ten,” where one bead from the tens place’s bottom row is pushed up (while the beads in the one’s place are pushed back to their starting or “0” position).

As an illustration, for the number 11, the bottom row would have two beads pushed up, one in the second column and the other in the first. Twelve would be arranged in the bottom row, with one in the second column and two in the first.

How To Use An Abacus For Addition?

Let us observe how to use an abacus for addition step by step.

Enter First Digit

Let us say you need to add 1234 with 5678. Push up four beads in the position of the one, three in the tens place, two in the hundreds place, and one in the thousands place to enter the number 1234 on the abacus.

 Start Adding From The Left

In this scenario, you would move the single bead from the top row of that column down to add the number 5, leaving the lower bead up for a total of 6, and adding the number 1 and the number 5 from the location of the thousands. Move the top bead in the hundreds position down and one bead from the bottom row up to add 6 in the hundreds place, for a total of 8.

Complete Exchange

You will carry over a 1 to the hundred places, making it a 9 in that column, as adding the two digits in the tens place will result in 10. Then, leave it at zero by placing all the beads in the area marked in tens.

You will proceed similarly for the one’s column. You will carry the one over to the spot for the tens, making it 1, because eight plus four equals 12. The ones are now replaced by 2, and you are left with.

The solution is found by counting your beads. The remaining numbers are a 6 in the thousands column, a 9 in the hundreds, a 1 in the tens, and a 2 in the ones: 1,234 + 5,678 = 6,912.

How To Use An Abacus For Subtraction?

Instead of carrying over the digits from the previous column, borrow them. Consider that you are taking 867 out of 932. Start subtracting column by column beginning on your left after entering 932 into the abacus.

You will leave one bead in the hundreds place since eight splits by nine equal one.

Because you can not subtract 6 from 3 in the tens place, you must borrow the 1 in the hundreds place (leaving it zero) and subtract 6 from 13 to get at 7, which is what you need (the upper bead up and two lower beads). To subtract 7 from 12 instead of 2, repeat the process in the one place, “borrowing” a bead from the area of the ten to make it 6.

Benefits Of Using An Abacus

It Enhances Attention

In addition to learning how to use an abacus and perform basic mathematical operations, children also learn to block out external distractions. Once kids have mastered using the abacus, they progress to a straightforward visualization approach that enables them to mentally assume the abacus and perform calculations. This, in turn, improves their ability to focus even more.

Youngsters can readily concentrate on whatever is put in front of them, whether it be in school or at home, and these abilities transfer to other aspects of life.

enhances one’s ability to observe and listen

Enhances One’s Ability To Observe And Listen

A child learning how to use an Abacus for math can begin processing numbers with only one glance with the use of flashcard training, one of the mental training methods, and while completing mental math tasks. The child sharpens their observing abilities as the program goes on.

In a similar vein, as kids are taught to hear numbers only once while doing problems, listening abilities also improve. This teaches the children to pay attention to the questions and enhances their listening abilities in general.

Improve Memory

One benefit of learning how to use an abacus is to improve memory. When teaching numbers and solving problems, a youngster must memorize several pictures. In addition, when using the Abacus to solve problems, students tend to recall the final image they created.

Children can become more adept at remembering things they see with consistent repetition, and eventually, they may develop a photographic memory.

Increases Confidence

When a child learns how to use an abacus, their instructors, parents, and peers frequently compliment them on it. When they participate in competitions at the national and international levels and demos, they are commonly exposed to a wide variety of programs with diverse audiences. These children significantly boost their self-esteem and confidence thanks to better mental skills. Additionally, it gives them confidence for upcoming difficulties.

Academically Sound Foundation

All of the aforementioned factors get deeply ingrained in the child’s mind. This creates a solid basis for kids to succeed academically.

Enhanced Visualization and Imagination

Young learners are encouraged to utilize a virtual abacus very early in their schooling. As a result, after learning how to use an abacus, they can solve issues fast by visualizing an abacus. The more the child employs this strategy, their capacity for imagination and vision grows.

Enhanced Counting Skills

A child’s counting abilities are enhanced as one of the earliest advantages of learning how to use an abacus. Kids can use an abacus to accomplish addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division operations. A youngster must have counting skills to operate an abacus. Using an abacus for youngsters helps kids learn to trust more quickly and accurately.

Make Calculations Easy

Once a child comprehends how to use an abacus function, calculations become simple. Consequently, knowing the Abacus makes complex calculations simpler and much more enjoyable. Math computations are becoming easier for kids thanks to the straightforward justification for how the abacus helps combat math anxiety.

Furthermore, as time goes on, pupils will not even require an abacus to conduct computations. They would only need to perform the calculations in their minds by visualizing an abacus.

Improves Cognitive And Brain Function

According to research, humans often use the left side of their brains, which helps them to read, write, compute, and perform other tasks.

According to neurologists, practicing the abacus can also activate the brain’s right hemisphere, which is in charge of creativity and other artistic qualities.

As a result, the abacus improves overall brain health and cognition in addition to numerical skills. Abacuses are not just for children; adults can also use them extensively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone at any age learn the abacus?

Yes, adults may learn how to use an abacus at any age; the only difference is that it will take them longer to become proficient than it would for a child between the ages of 5 and 15 years.

What distinguishes the abacuses used in China and Japan?

The upper and lower decks of the Chinese abacus Suanpan had 2 and 5 beads each, whereas the upper and lower decks of the Japanese abacus Soroban have 1 and 4 beads each. Today, many people use soroban because of its straightforward methodology.

How much time will it take to learn the abacus?

We advise students to complete at least Level 3 qualifications in abacus, which most can do in three to four years. Combining studying the abacus with academic math is quite advantageous.

How can using an abacus boost the brain’s ability for information processing?

There is a huge amount of information available today. One of the key skills in the twenty-first century is the capacity to comprehend information quickly. Through the use of the Abacus method of mental calculation, training is achieved for information processing with numbers. The right brain processes numbers quickly and accurately as they are read. After that, the information is transformed into precise numerical data.

Final Words

The simplest operations that can be carried out on an abacus are mentioned in this guide. Abacuses are a tool that can be utilized for more complex computations and functions. We hope the methods above will guide you on how to use an abacus and assist you in helping your youngster learn how to use an abacus.

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