# How To Use An Abacus? Make Mathematical Calculations Easy

Sep 04, 2023 By Supriya Jain
Originally Published on Nov 09, 2021

## Content

An abacus is an important tool in mathematics.

An abacus is a creative way to make mathematical calculations easy. The type with five beads is regarded as the best option wherein every column is used to represent a different place value for digit numbers.

It is an easy tool to help you work out any difficult questions you face while studying. Well, you must be eager to learn and know more about how to use an abacus. So let's work it out without any further delay.

Do you know that the abacus has been used since ancient times? It is known as a counting tool, but you must know how to use an abacus before starting to use one.

Mathematics is all about playing with numbers. It depends on you how smartly you can play with them. An abacus is one of the tricks or methods to work smarter when it comes to mathematics.

It has a frame wherein different wires are present with a certain number of beads. Whether it be high-school students or kindergarten kids, the abacus is an excellent precursor for learning to use a calculator. As 'counting tool' suggests, it is beneficial in counting numbers.

We know as you are reading you are getting more and more curious about how to use an abacus. This article covers all the essential and detailed information you need to know about the abacus.

After reading this article about the benefits of using a Japanese abacus for kids or a Chinese abacus for beginners, do check out how to use a microscope and how to raise a chick on Kidadl.

### How do you use an abacus for an addition?

An abacus is a tool made up of colorful beads. Just by moving these beads left to right and vice versa, we can solve typical problems.

Each top-row or column should have one or two beads per row, whereas the bottom-row columns should have four beads per row. All of the beads should be in the top row before you begin, and down in the bottom row once you've completed the first row.

The top row's beads symbolize the number five, while the bottom row's beads represent the number one. We can do calculations such as addition, subtraction, multiplications, and division.

This is used by junior students and it also teaches them the origin of modern calculators. Additions are basic operations that are used by many students in daily life.

Therefore it is always required to start by first learning this operation. It is an extremely easy and basic concept for kids to put a finger on.

Input your first number on the abacus using six beads on the unit's row, five beads in the ten's row, and three beads in the hundred's row. Now, to add seven to the hundred's row with three, push beads upwards to complete a sum of 10.

In the same way, add two beads in the ten's row and complete a sum of seven by adding it to five.

Push three beads downwards and make six plus three equals nine. And here you are set to get the sum of the two numbers as 1079.

The beads you don't have to count are put on one side. While the ones you are working with are displayed on the other side. It is simply logical that for additions you have to add the beads to the number you have set. There are different kinds of abacuses.

A school abacus is different and so are others. So the function of each abacus varies minutely. However, the basic agenda and work are still the same.

### How do you use an Abacus for subtraction?

As all students know, subtracting means taking away numbers. In addition, you moved beads to the number you have set. It's just the opposite in subtraction. Here you need to take away numbers to reduce them.

To illustrate this with a simple example let's take eight minus three. You will set your abacus with eight beads. Then, take away three beads from it. When you count the left beads you will get the number five. That's really an easy exercise.

There is one important rule to remember for children looking to develop calculation-related skills at school. Whenever you have a full row, likely in addition, then you need to shift all the beads of the next row to the non-counting side and just add the extra number there.

This rule is reversed in subtraction.

When you have 10 beads in place of zero you need to swap a full row with zero. Now, you understand basic subtraction and addition, but students should also know a little about counting on an abacus.

By now you probably understand that an abacus consists of an odd range of rods (columns). One bead has a value of five and four beads have a value of one. Each rod in an abacus contains a digit. This is some basic information you are required to know.

An abacus is a great tool for beginners and kids. It develops an interest in the subject of mathematics. It also helps in nurturing your skills right from the beginning.

### How do you use an abacus for multiplication?

Additions and subtractions on the abacus are easy, right kids? But how about when it comes to multiplying two or more numbers without a calculator? Addition and subtraction are easy and interesting.

However, multiplication is not that easy. It is a skill that requires focus and good counting ability. But you need not worry. Just concentrate and you are all set to perform multiplication on an abacus in school.

As you move the beads in addition and subtraction, similarly do so for multiplication. During multiplication, the related number increases, so it is a little difficult to manage. However, with focus and practice, it will work smoothly.

Here are some steps to follow in order to use an abacus to multiply using the beads on the wires. On the slide, place the same amount of beads as the first number in the multiplication question.

If you're multiplying six and four, for example, slide six beads over the wire.

To keep your calculations more structured and simple to understand, start with the beads in the top row and shift them from left to right. To avoid becoming confused, all of the beads on the abacus should be moved entirely to the left when beginning a sum.

Repeat the preceding step as many times as the second integer in the equation. You should slide six beads to the other side of the rack four times in this example. Once you have completed the first row, move down to the second row of the abacus.

Continue the procedure and count the number of beads to get your answer. The multiplication process is a little complex. At times you might forget what you did in the last row.

However, it's not that difficult if you practice. Mathematics is a subject that requires constant practice. Therefore, to operate the tools easily, you should practice with them regularly.

### How do you use a Chinese abacus?

As you read earlier, there are different kinds of abacuses. The Chinese abacus is one of them.

The rectangular frame of the Chinese abacus, also known as the suan pan, includes rods going from one side to the other. A horizontal wooden bar divides it into two sections. Each rod has five balls below it (the 'ones') and two above it (the 'twos' and 'fives').

The suan pan was first introduced in the middle of the 15th century. It was known as the soroban since that is how the Chinese characters are spoken.

The abacus is a counting and numerical recording device that was previously popular throughout East Asia. If you go into a shop in China, you can probably see one lying around or being used in rural towns. It's possible that you'll see older individuals utilizing them.

Calculators and teller machines were frequently used in China before they got so inexpensive. They were used by shopkeepers to tally up figures.

After practice, people can use them when calculating numbers. Abacuses are not exclusively utilized by Chinese people. Similar abacuses have been used in the Western world for years.

The first step in a Chinese abacus is to set the abacus properly. To do this, shift the upper and lower frames to their original places respectively.

To count a number on the abacus, move the beads towards the bar. Moving the top bead in the lower deck of the unit's wire up to the bar counts one. By moving the lowest bead in the top deck and four beads from the lower deck to the bar, the number nine is counted.

By sliding the top bead from the bottom deck of the ten's wire to the bar the number ten is counted. These are a few examples of how to count numbers on an abacus.

It is very easy to add numbers using a Chinese abacus. To add five plus one, move one bead of five from the top and one bead for one from the bottom. Then you have the answer to the sum, which is six. This procedure is similar to the one you studied before.

Using an abacus is so amusing that children use it as a toy rather than a tool. They play and entertain themselves. While doing this, they train themselves on an abacus. This is the specialty of human tools. They are beneficial in an excellent way.

To perform additions, you have to count the number of beads in each column. Beads are counted from the right column to the left column.

To perform subtraction, you must take away the numbers that you are subtracting away from the number which you are subtracting from, by replacing some beads with the other beads. Multiplication is done by repeatedly adding numbers together.

By repeated addition of two numbers, you can obtain a product as long as both numbers are within their respective ranges. Division is done by repeatedly subtracting the divisor from the dividend until the dividend is zero, and then multiplying the divisor by the remainder.

To convert a decimal number to a fraction, use division on the multiplier. For example, to find the fraction, divide eight by ten (the multiplier). To change a fraction to its decimal equivalent, divide one by that number. For example, to convert to decimal form, divide one by 20 (the multiplicand).

To solve the greatest common factor problem, divide by both factors. For example, first convert to a fraction, then eliminate the common factor (7/11=7) by dividing both factors.

The two basic operations are addition and subtraction. Subtraction is done by taking away numbers from one or more columns on an abacus.

The leftmost column represents the sum of the numbers being subtracted. The next column represents the number taken away from that sum.

To subtract numbers, you should start with the leftmost column and move right.

To subtract numbers in the same column, switch the positions of the beads.

Therefore, if you want to subtract three from eight, start at the third bead and move right; to subtract five from 10, start at the first bead and move left; and to subtract 22 from 33, start at the first bead and go right until you get to a bead with a zero (8-5=8-5=0).

Here are some interesting facts about the abacus.

People in tropical cultures counted using their fingers and even their toes before the Hindu-Arabic number system was invented in India in the sixth or seventh century and introduced to Europe in the 12th century.

People then picked up little, easy-to-carry things like pebbles, seashells, and twigs to add up amounts as even larger numbers (more than ten fingers and toes could represent) were counted.

Merchants who exchanged goods, on the other hand, required a more thorough system to keep track of the numerous items they bought and sold. The abacus was one of the numerous counting devices created in ancient times to aid in the counting of big numbers, however, it is thought that the Babylonians first employed it around 2,400 B.C.

Hundreds of years before the written Hindu-Arabic numeral system was adopted, the abacus was in use in Europe, China, and Russia.

Abaci was altered to employ place-value counting, a method in which the position of a digit in a number determines its value when the Hindu-Arabic number system became widely established.

Each position represents ten times the value of the place to its right in the conventional system. The physical construction of the abacus has altered since the invention of the first abacus.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'How to use abacus' then why not take a look at 'How to eat rambutan' or 'How to use hair oil'?

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Written by Supriya Jain