Mathematics is the subject most of us love to hate. Calculations and playing with numbers are part and parcel of our everyday lives.

It is said “Go down deep enough into anything and you will find Mathematics”.

Abacus learning makes math calculation process easy and interesting. Introduction of abacus at the apt age is important as it would then only help the child to master it. So, today let’s dig in a bit deeper to know more about it.

“ABACUS” is a Latin word derived from the Greek word ABAX which means a calculating table. It’s a simple device which originated in Babylon about 5000 years ago. It is still widely popular in Japan, China, the Middle East and Russia.

Abacus is used to perform all the basic arithmetic calculations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. It can also be used to extract the square root and the cubic root. It consists of a rectangular frame, with multiple rods. Each rod consists of beads which are moved up and down with the help of fingers. 

Two of the most commonly used abacus are the Chinese and the Japanese. The Chinese abacus also known as ‘saunpan’ consist of 5 beads below and 2 beads above the reckoning bar. It can be used to count upto 16 different numbers from 0 to 15. On the other hand, the Japanese abacus, also known as the “soroban” consist of 4 beads below and 1 bead above the reckoning bar. Each rod can represent 10 different numbers from 0 to 9.

A horizontal crossbar perpendicular to the rods separates the abacus into two unequal parts. The beads above the crossbar are known as heaven beads or upper beads, and those below the crossbar are called earth beads or lower beads. Counting on abacus is done by moving the beads up and down the rods. The beads are moved with the help of the thumb and the index finger. Moving the bead towards the reckoning rod is used for addition and moving away for subtraction. Lower beads are moved up by the thumb finger and for all others bead movement the index finger is used. Before using the abacus make sure that all the beads are in the neutral position representing zero. This can be done by placing the thumb and the index finger on the horizontal crossbar lightly and moving it across from left to right. This has to be done every time before starting a new calculation.

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