Abacus Mental Arithmetic System can promote
All-round development of students

By Mr. Wu Yanhua, Changchun Beilesi Kindergarten, Changchun, Jilin Province, China.

The writer has engaged in teaching Abacus Mental Arithmetic since 1990. It is proved by several years’ teaching results that Abacus Mental Arithmetic is remarkable for developing children’s potential intelligence. It has strengthened children’s memory? attention?imagination as well as logical thinking capacity, making children develop in all-around way. In order to further explore and validate the effects acquired, the writer has carried out contrast experiments based on current Abacus Mental Arithmetic class, which has 48 students, among them 26 are boys and 22 are girls. 70% of them are from countryside, and did not receive good preschool and family educations. The corresponding class (contrast class) has 25 boys and 21 girls. Abacus Mental Arithmetic lecturers have been offered to the abacus class since primary 1 (grade 1); while the corresponding class (contrast class) has been offered mathematic texts of centralized compilation in Jilin province, and the math teachers are with seasoned experience. Scores of both classes since primary 1 are shown in table 1.

Average mark excellence rate?passing rate of Abacus Mental Arithmetic class were generally higher that those from the corresponding class (contrast class).
We conducted a basic-operation of mathematic contest in the 1st semester of Grade 3 in primary school. Contest tasks were determined by math teachers of the corresponding class (contrast class). After test, their average mark?excellence rate and passing rate of Abacus Mental Arithmetic class still rank first (shown in Table 2).

The teacher who offered contest tasks excitedly said: “Abacus Mental Arithmetic is really good. It shall be advocated and developed.” Calculation ability of students from abacus class is undoubtedly perfect; what is their thinking ability and logical reasoning competence? Thus another practice contest on subjective sums was offered for the same group. Test questions were decided by the same teachers. Results are shown in table 3.

The highest score in abacus class is 98, but 83 in the corresponding class (contrast class). The passing rates differ 30.2%. What is the language score? Table 4 shows the results of reading and listening of language competition held in grade 3 from primary school.

As shown above, the average mark excellence?credit and passing rates of Abacus Mental Arithmetic class were generally higher that those from the corresponding class (contrast class).
More strikingly, we found that memory competence of students from abacus class is particularly good. To verify it, a reciting match was prepared. A short article was offered by the headmaster. Students had 3 minutes for preparation. Then they should begin to recite. Results are shown in table 5

Gap between the excellent rates is 87.5%. Obviously, introduction of Abacus Mental Arithmetic in class is not only a scientific method, but can help to develop students’ potential intelligence, to promote children’s memory?reaction?logical thinking?reading capabilities and enhance their imaging abilities.
With respects to moral trait and physical quality, students from abacus mental arithmetic class are gracious in character, and always rank first in sports competition organized by all primary schools in the town. Physical marks are shown in table 6.

The gap between the excellence rates remains at 16.7% that is again higher than that in contrast class.
Why Abacus Mental Arithmetic Education can promote all-round development of students? The reasons may be as follows.

  1. 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, especially the key in solving the multiple digits addition and subtraction is to transform the addition and subtraction sum below 20 to addition and subtraction sum below 10.Thus, there should be easy to learn addition and subtraction for sum below 10 if a child capable to know all number below 10 in his 1st semester of school. While teaching student to know all numbers below 10, abacus calculation brings into play, abacus forms a image of abacus beads in brain to help student to master the concept of number in their mind. Initially, students should be taught to master single digit two rows addition equal to 5 or so called combination of 5 and equal to 10 or called combination of 10 when teaching student in solving addition and subtraction for sum below 10. Student can easily know the addition and subtraction of multi-digits through the systems of decomposition of 5?combination of 10 and the simplification of addition and subtraction within the 20.
  2. 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 contact is due to the effectiveness of interactive 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. The perspective of modern mathematic is to train student using his hand to develop science and not the ear. Recommendation of abacus mental arithmetic education in school syllabus is helping young student to learn mathematic effectively. Learning abacus is a proper way to form an energetic and initiative student by manipulating the beads. This calculation method relying on the function of mind thinking and utilizing image of beads in mind through sense improve mind thinking ability and it is crucial to apply abacus as a calculation tool in school.