The Chinese Abacus – Short Essay

The Chinese Abacus The Chinese Abacus is a simple device for performing mathematical calculations. The Chinese Abacus also known as a “Suanpan” in Chinese. The Abacus was first mentioned by the mathematician Xu Yueh at the end of Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 A. D). The Abacus is a tool for calculating numbers, and was widely used in ancient times up to the invention of the modern mechanical and electronic calculators. The Abacus is similar to the modern calculator. It has a rectangular wooden frame with beads in the columns.

There is a cross rod to divide beads into two parts, above the rod each bead represents quantities of five and as it moves right it goes up like 50, 500, 5000 and so on, while under the rod each bead represents quantities of one and goes up to 10, 100, 1000, and so on. The basic operations for which the abacus is helpful include arithmetic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The computational methods using an Abacus are called abacus calculations. This device was created using wood and beads. You only count the beads that are in the center on the divider.

The Abacus is still in use today by shopkeepers in Asia and “Chinatowns” in North America. The use of the abacus is still taught in Asian schools, and some few schools in America. Blind children are taught to use the Abacus. One particular use for the Abacus is teaching children simple mathematics and especially multiplication. The Abacus is also an excellent tool for teaching other base numbering systems since it easily adapts itself to any base. I made my Abacus by simply getting four wood planks and nailing them together to make a wooden frame.

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