I recently had a parent tell me they were going to purchase an abacus for their child because they thought this would support their child’s math learning. I totally agreed with this! This parent is a teacher, and I get the honor of working with her child to help support math learning.
I dove into some research on the subject of the Abacus because I am just learning about its benefits. I was having a hard time finding information presented through the lens of American students because it doesn’t seem to be a tool that we rely on. However, I did find a lot of information listed in other countries, especially Asian countries.
An Abacus is an ancient counting device that assists with calculations. It has been used for centuries in Asia and Europe. It can enhance the level of concentration in children.
I did some reading, and then decided to head over the YouTube because my brain was getting drug deep into the 5 bead Abacus and I just wanted to learn more about the 10-bead Abacus, which is the one I am planning to use in my instruction.
I am going to paraphrase a video form YouTube from TheroYfy They began by stating the Abacus’s importance in calculations. This is the main reason I wanted to purchase one. I wanted to be sure that my students have an additional support system that I can rely on and teach that will help them focus on calculations. The video, as well as the articles I read, all support the idea of calculations and that ALL calculations can be done on an Abacus. I may not personally learn all of the things the Abacus can do, but I definitely plan to learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, and hopefully division.
Concentration improves when using an Abacus. The user must concentrate on counting and pattern recognition as they are using it. This would definitely support those students who need growth in this area.
An Abacus will support visualization. Many students struggle with their math classes because they do not understand the math symbols, but the Abacus turns the abstract concept of numbers into a concrete visual so they can grasp the concept as they work through their problems.
An Abacus can help a student learn to use both hands when doing tasks. This is called ambidexterity. While this may not be crucial for all things in life, it definitely helps the brain grow and mature in a different way. I always feel that when we learn new things, we are growing our brains, so we should celebrate this concept and grow those brain pathways!
The video mentions acupressure points are stimulated, but I would call this using their hands to solve a problem. Any time a student uses their hands, they are connecting ideas together and many times will remember it better than just listening to something or reading about something.
Using an abacus should increase the speed of calculations as confidence and understanding is built while using it.
According to Wisechamps, an Abacus should do the following: increase the speed of calculations, increases concentration, improves listening skills, enhances logical thinking, increases confidence, improves writing speed, supports academic excellence, boosts creativity, improves visualization skills, increases memory skills. Wow, who wouldn’t want that?
When students use the Abacus, they are using both sides of their brain and this will build strong minds as they work through math problems.
I really want to thank the Mom who said she was going to purchase an Abacus for her child. I am learning all kinds of benefits to this ancient tools and will continue to learn right along with her child. It is a totally different way of looking at math problems and teaching it as well!
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