What is Abacus ?
Abacus is an instrument that was invented some 2500 years ago, which later on spread through countries like Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia etc. It was used in the ancient times for calculating numbers through basic arithmetic system. It has now been proven as a complete brain development tool over last two decades.
Abacus became popular over the world after being transformed from a calculating instrument into a system having immense power to benefit children of small ages by expanding the brain usage, in addition to making maths learning easy and effective.
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Functions of Abacus:
An abacus instrument allows performing basic operations like Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division. It can also carry out operations such as counting up to decimal places, calculates sums having negative numbers etc.
Advantages of Abacus :
Dr. Toshio Hayashi, Director, Research Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (RIAST) is of the view that, starting abacus learning at a very young age, is useful in activating the brain of kids. He also says, “We can activate the nerve cells by providing “stimuli” like moving fingers and talking aloud.” When a child works on abacus the finger movements of both the hands activate the censors of the brain , the right hand coordinates with the left part of the brain and left hand coordinates with right part of the brain.
This facilitates the functioning of “The whole brain” and helps in added intellect, thereby creating ‘child maths prodigy’.
- Visualization: Ms. Kimiko Kawano, Researcher, Nippon Medical School, Center for Informatics and Sciences, is of the opinion that abacus users simply visualize an image of abacus in their head. They do not replace the image into words. This difference can be seen clearly in the EEGs. What is important is that the ability to visualize can be put to use for other subjects.
- Concentration: Decker Avenue School, California conducted a research on the effects of abacus training on children in the classroom. The study indicated that increased concentration of the abacus students was one of the pre-dominating effects of the training program.
- Logical reasoning: Ms. Shizuko Amaiwa, Professor, Shinshu University, observed that advanced abacus learners were found to have received desirable effects in solving certain types of mathematical problems compared to non-abacus learners. In addition, a positive effect was seen, not only in mathematical problems with integers and decimals, but also in those with fractions, especially when higher level of logical thinking is required to solve them.
- Photographic memory: Ms. Shizuko Amaiwa is also of the opinion that the beneficial effect of abacus training is the improvement in memory As a result, abacus learners were found to score higher than non-abacus learners… It can be speculated that the training to obtain the abacus image visually had the effect of making students sensitive towards spatial arrangement or enhanced photographic memory.
- Recall: Ms. Kimiko Kawano, Researcher, Nippon Medical School, Center for Informatics and Sciences, has stated that, “some abacus experts use their ability for memorizing whole page of textbook or years in history. The ability developed by abacas can be used effectively in different ways” such as the capability to recall.