The Abacus is a counting frame with beads sliding on wires and is used as a calculating tool. The Abacus was in use centuries ago before the modern numeral system came into existence. It helps provide a thorough understanding of counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. Children initially start calculations, using the Abacus frame and then when the mind is conditioned, they start calculating visualizing the Abacus. In the Abacus system of mental calculation, users mentally visualize the Abacus to do the calculations. Mental calculation is said to improve mental capability, response speed, memory and concentration. Abacus mental arithmetic system is believed to promote all round development of a child. Mr. Wu Yanhua of China has been teaching mental arithmetic since 1990 and says, “It is proved by several years’ of teaching results that Abacus mental arithmetic is remarkable for developing children’s potential intelligence. It has strengthened children’s memory, attention, imagination and logical thinking capacity.” He further adds, “The benefit of Abacus Mental Arithmetic Education is to strengthen the fundamental knowledge and basic skills. Arithmetical competence is a key point for the mathematic subject in primary schools, using abacus as a calculation tool is the most effective method in improving student’s calculation ability. Exploring the new knowledge by applying the skill of manipulation is to cultivate the student’s logical thinking ability. From the point of psychology, the understanding and interest of children to something new is due to the effectiveness of interaction between the subject and the object. A body movement is the initial step of mind thinking. Without a proper linkage between body movement and mind thinking, mind thinking can hardly be developed well. Learning abacus is a proper way to form an energetic initiative by manipulating the beads. This calculation method relies on the function of mind thinking and utilizes the image of beads in mind, improving the mind thinking ability” Mr. Somendra Gupta has been running Abacus coaching center successfully in Aligarh for the past four years and says. “A remarkable difference can be seen in children who use Abacus for calculations. They are hundred times faster than average children are. They can solve 150 sums in eight minutes. They have pinpoint concentration with high intelligence levels and their results are exceptional.” He says the ideal age to introduce children to the Abacus system of mental arithmetic is six years. Dr. Anis Jahan Sherani, an Associate Professor with the Education Department says, “Seeing the result of abacus on my children, I strongly recommend parents to introduce their children to the system.”
Priyanshi Somani of Gujarat is called a mental calculator. She won the Mental Calculation World Cup 2010 being the youngest participant at the age of 11. She multiplies strings of 10-digit numbers and finds the square root of a six-digit numbers by manipulating an imaginary abacus in her mind. Her name is also added in the Limca Book of World Records.
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