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Mathematics, often regarded as the language of the universe, is a subject that has captivated me since childhood. While modern technology has revolutionized how we perform calculations, there exists a timeless tool that not only connects us to the roots of mathematical thinking but also ignites a deep passion for the subject—the abacus.

I initially joined an abacus class during my summer break few years ago just to keep myself engaged. I felt such a deep appreciation for abacus, I could not stop myself until I completed the Grand Master level.

I can’t really explain why I fell in love for abacus. However here are few thoughts:

The mathematical concepts we study today were not developed by the brilliant mathematicians of the past using a calculator or a computer. The use of abacus put me into their shoes and appreciate their ingenuity.

The abacus provides a unique way to visualize mathematical operations. As beads are moved across rods or wires, mathematical concepts such as place value, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division come to life in a tangible and interactive manner. This made me realize the importance of visualization in learning and appreciating any new concept.

One of the remarkable benefits of using the abacus is its potential to improve mental calculation abilities. By repeatedly practicing arithmetic operations on the abacus, individuals develop strong number sense, enhance their speed and accuracy in mental calculations, and sharpen their overall mathematical skills. This proficiency in mental math not only becomes useful in everyday life but also lays a solid foundation for more advanced mathematical concepts. By the way, the use of calculator is prohibited in India until senior year. Ability to calculate using mental abacus definitely helped. While many of my classmates struggled to finish math tests in time due to laborious calculation, I usually had ample time left to double check my calculation.

What my teachers also told me that since we use both hands in the abacus for doing mental calculations, it helps in the development of both the right and left brain equally.

As I move from the mental arithmetic so beautifully taught by abacus to more of advanced mathematical concepts such as calculus and trigonometry, I do believe the foundation laid by abacus helped. Powered by basic abacus, I have been doing well in various interschool competitions, Olympiads and recently scoring a distinction in 2023 Euclid Contest organized by Center for Education in Mathematics and Computing at University of Waterloo.

If you love Mathematics and have not tried abacus yet, you are probably missing a piece of puzzle.

2 Comments

  • Renuka Lazarus

    Bravo Migul. How well u have explained the learning n far reaching impact of the simple abacus tool. And needless to add- You were a Model Student! I wish you all the Best of life’s adventures n learning programmes. Would appreciate being kept in the loop of all your future endeavours n achievements.

    • Migul Jain

      Thank you maam for the kind words. And of course, I will let you know of my future endeavours

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