Parenting

How To Use 9 Beads Abacus


Abacus is a widely used calculating tool around the world. Visually impaired and anyone who wants to know the roots of arithmetic calculations can use an abacus. Invented by the Chinese around 500 BC, there are many different variations of abacus such as the Chinese Suan-Pan (算盘), Japanese Soroban, Roman Abacus and Lee Chinese Abacus. In Fun With Abacus, the school uses the 3rd generation abacus called the 9 Beads Abacus. So, what is special about the 9 Beads Abacus?

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Derived from the One-Four Beads Abacus (4+1 Bead System), the 9 Beads Abacus uses the 9’s Complement System. This is the simplest abacus system with only two main sets of formula. Due to the ease of learning this tool, every kindergarten student can understand its principles. Is there a close relationship between abacus and Anzan? Yes, there is.

Mental calculations, or Anzan, are exposed to the Fun With Abacus’s students during Level 1 of learning. With no physical abacus used, the students need to visualise, solve the equations and write down their answers. With multiple practices, students can solve arithmetic calculations with great speed using Anzan.

How to prepare my child for Anzan?

Besides the teacher’s guidance, parents need to give their child lots of patience and encouragement during the child’s abacus learning journey, especially Anzan. As every child’s concentration spent is very short, the child will easily get their answers wrong and feel frustrated. Therefore, parents need to motivate their child, be more patient and more forgiving when mistakes are made.

How To Use 9 Beads Abacus

On the 9 Beads Abacus, the black dot represents the “ones”, on it’s right represents the “tenth” and the orange beads represents the fifth bead. The “ones” will always be the start of all calculations.

Pushing the 1 bead on the “ones” with the thumb represent the digit 1, while pushing 9 beads on the “ones” with the thumb represent the digit 9.

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The same logic goes to the “tenth” and so on. When there are three beads pushed up on the “tenth”, it represents the digit 30.

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For addition of 5+3, simply pushed up 5 beads and pushed up 3 beads. The total number of beads on the “ones” is the digit 8.


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For subtraction of 9-4, simply pushed up 9 beads and pushed down 4 beads using the index finger. The remaining left on the “ones” is the digit 5.

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As 9 Beads Abacus using the 9 Complement system, students have to understand the number bonds of 10. This is also known as Good Buddy. For example, 8 and 2 are good buddies while 7 and 3 are good buddies. The reason is because these good buddies add up to be 10.

So, how to calculate 7+3+8? Simply pushed up 7 beads on the “ones”. As there are not enough 3 beads, the student will push down 7 beads on the “ones” because the good buddy of 3 is 7. In return, the student will push up one “tenth” bead.

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Finally, pushed up 8 beads on the “ones” to complete the addition of 7+3+8, which equals to 18.

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Abacus is about practicing and the power to concentrate. With the help and guidance of Fun With Abacus, my child is able to solve 7 digit calculations. Now, my child is more confident and he starts to love numbers. Fun With Abacus has made my child more prepared for his primary school learning and I hope parents with a pre-school child can check out this wonderful enrichment school.


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