How to Use an Abacus is the primary question when children are taught the abacus. Initiate with the abacus as a primary tool to execute arithmetic calculation, the child steadily or bit by bit moves on to visualize the abacus in his/her mind and perform arithmetic calculations, consequently they are training the right side of their brain. Thus, the right side of the brain is also equally applied, employ or exploit and this results in total brain up growth or development. Abacus knowledge activates the whole brain. It boosts memory by rising dopamine creation in the brain. It opens up both the left and right zone of the brain.

Several survey and research on human brain discloses that growth of knowledge or development of brain occurs mainly between age of 4 to 14 years. Exercise of brain and its involvement in various activities play vital role  in balanced development of left and right brain hemispheres. Hence abacus helpful for brain development at early stage.

Table of Contents

  1. What is abacus
  2. Structure of abacus
  3. Value of Beads in Abacus
  4. How to use an abacus
  5. About Abacus
  6. Abacus Methodology
  7. How to use an Abacus for Addition?
  8. How to use an Abacus for Subtraction?
  9. How Abacus Approach Helpful For Brain Development
  10. Abacus Level Description
  11. Abacus being Visualization Tool
  12. How Visualization Helpful For Brain Development
  13. Research Report
  14. Conclusion

What is Abacus

The abacus is a long ago manipulative device. This simple device is about 5,000 years old and is thought to have started in Babylon. In China, the abacus is called a suan pan and in Japan the abacus is called a soroban. Today Japan, China, the Middle East, and Russia still use the abacus, and school children in these countries are often taught to how to use an abacus.

Structure of Abacus

A current  abacus is made of wood or plastic. It is rectangular in shape and within the rectangle, there are at least nine erect rods adjust with number of beads that serve ones, tens, hundreds and thousands’ places. Based on the calculations, these beads are moved up and down. A horizontal crossbar is at right angled to the rods, divide the abacus into two uneven section. The moveable beads are placed either above or below the crossbar.

Value of Beads in Abacus

Does Abacus Helpful for Brain Development give benefit of Abacus Training

Every column in the top row should have one or two beads per row, while each column in the bottom row should have four. At start, all of the beads should be up in the top row, and down in the bottom row. The beads in the top row express the number value 5 and each bead in the bottom row denote the number value 1.

How to Use an Abacus

A  Modern Teaching Method Which is Helpful For Brain Development

Abacus Mental Arithmetic is a modern teaching method which makes the abacus-based teaching as its bedrock and primary part and join the abacus calculation by Oral calculation and written calculation to form a skill of Abacus Mental Arithmetic.

About Abacus

  • Age Group- 4 years to 13 years.
  • Classes- Once a week of 2 hours.
  • Each Level completion time- Around 12-16 weeks .
  • Total level- 8
  • It helps children with all four arithmetic operations-
  1. Addition
  2. Subtraction
  3. Multiplication
  4. Division

Abacus Methodology

Here the rules for study is a computation device i.e. abacus. At first kids start by using abacus instrument to do sums. Then they are taught to recall visual pictures of the abacus in their minds to help them calculate faster. The program has different levels and children go ahead through these levels by learning to mentally, calculate progressively difficult arithmetic problems.

How to use an Abacus for Addition?

Approach for learning addition.

  • The 10 procedure

For example, if we have to add 9+6, we will enter 6 and 9 in the first two columns. Then moved from 6 to 9 so that 9 becomes 10 and 6 becomes 5.

So now we can easily operate 10+5=15. Once student learn this on an abacus, they start doing it mentally.

  • The Two 5s  scheme

For example, if we have to add 6+7, we will enter 6 and 7 in the first two wires. The two 5s will make it 10, and we will remain with three beads. Now performing 10+3=13 is easy.

This process works for two numbers whose addition are more than five.

How to use an Abacus for Subtraction?

Subtraction is just the reverse process of addition, Here borrow the digits from the previous column instead of carrying them over. For example, if you want to subtract 867 from 932. 

  1. After entering 932 in the abacus, start subtracting column by column from the left. If you subtract 8 from 9 you will receive 1, so you will leave a single bead in the hundreds place. 
  2. Now move to the tens place. You can’t subtract 6 from 3, so you will have to borrow 1 in the hundreds place leaving it with 0. Now you have to subtract 6 from 13 making it 7. 
  3. Now move on to the unit’s place. Repeat the process. Because you cannot subtract 7 from 2 you have to borrow 1 from the tens place, which will convert 7 present in the tens place into 6. Now subtract 7 from 12 so you will obtain 5.
  4. So our final answer will be 932 – 867 = 65.

How Abacus Approach Helpful For Brain Development

Here practice build on a math approach called as breakdown, which makes calculation simple by breaking down numbers into their integral parts. So children are inspired to think about how certain numbers have counterpart. For example, 10 is made by combine 7 plus 3 or by combine 6 plus 4.

Abacus Level Description

The first level of Abacus starts with children using the Abacus tools. Here they do simple addition and subtraction with single digits using abacus instrument.

The second level includes visualization where the children actually visualize the Abacus in their mind and do the simple addition and subtraction with single digits mentally and addition and subtraction of  two digits number with Abacus.

The third level include addition and subtraction of  two digits number without abacus ie mentally  and three digits with Abacus and also introduction of simple multiplication.

The fourth level includes  two digits multiplication and single digits division .The difficulty keeps increasing at every level.

There are workbooks with simple problems of addition and subtraction, which the teacher and the children solve together.

Abacus being Visualization Tool

From the next level, the Abacus is used only as a visualization tool. The teacher, who herself has undergone training for the same, focuses children’s energy to visualize the instrument in their head and move the beads up and down mentally.

How Visualization Helpful For Brain Development

Among all the kick to develop right region of brain one of the most important means is visualization. According to research through visualization, build up areas of the brain are equal to actually performed and therefore same neural networks are created through it. When we visualize an act, the brain generates a thought or flash that tells our neurons to “perform” the movement. This form a new neural route or track i.e. bunch of cells in our brain. 

Research Report

1) Research done by Nippon Medical School on 200 students over 10 years shows abacus users have high levels of brain activities in their right brain. Classic scientific, methodical, experimental and mathematical calculations uses the left brain;

 By visualizing an image of the abacus in their head, children are able to hit into their right brain, attain a equitable usage of both brain part.

2) Research Aims and Objectives:

To study the effect of abacus training on maths anxiety.

Materials and Methods:

Data were collected from 60 primary school students (30 abacus trained and 30 untrained) using maths anxiety rating scale- India.


The mean values of maths anxiety scores among abacus-trained students were 107.06 and those without abacus training were 116.21 which are statistically significant.


Since maths anxiety is known to affect maths performance, there is a need to recognize the positive effects of abacus training on school mathematics learning as well as broader aspects of children’s development.

       Maths anxiety scores among abacus and non-abacus students

 Parameter                 Mean±SD P value

                                                   Abacus                                    Non‑abacus

Maths anxiety scores          107.06±24.90                          116.21±13.98 0.04*


Does Abacus Helpful for Brain Development give benefit of Abacus Training

3)A research report  in Child Development, psychologists in the US have conducted a three-year randomised controlled trial of the effects of teaching the mental abacus on 183 five-to-seven year-old children at a charitable school in Vadodara, India.

Their results suggest that training in the mental abacus can have impressive benefits for students’  mathematical abilities.

4)The Mental Calculation World Cup is a ferocious competition. During event, participants might be query to add a string of 10 different 10-digit numbers, multiply 18,467,941 by 73,465,135, find the square root of 530,179 and determine which day of the week corresponds to Aug. 12, 1721all without writing anything down.

The speed with which the  champ  finished these quest is amazing. The World Cup record for finding the square roots of 10 six-digit numbers, for instance, is six minutes and 51 seconds. Even more outstandingly, the holder of that record is 11 years old.

Priyanshi Somani, the Mental Calculation World Champion  on answering the question, uses a method called “Mental Abacus.” According to a paper published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Psychologist Michael Frank enters the world of high-speed mental math and finds that “Mental Abacus” users can calculate without using verbal working memory.


  • Abacus improve concentration or direction of attention to a single object
  • upgraded visual memory or recollected information about seen.
  • Also helpful in retention and recall in life overall.
  • Increases speed and accuracy levels for calculating even large numbers.
  • Listening skills improves by this.
  • Achieving immense amount of confidence.
  • Strengthen at arithmetic calculations.

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6 thoughts on “How to Use an Abacus For Brain Development

  1. It is very nice Blog ,Thank you for sharing such blog.
    UCMAS provides a unique child development program. It help the children to become smarter in their day to day activities. UCMAS Abacus Academy also equips them with the skill that they need to improve overall academic achievement.

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