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Abacus around the world

What you need to know about abacus


Abacus around the world

When we think about the ancient abacus, it is mostly associated with China but counting boards resembling the abacus were known to have existed in Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire from 300 BC.

However the origins of the traditional abacus as we know it today can be traced back to China circa 1200 AD. It was called as it is today – suan pan (算盘). This form of abacus has two beads above a divider and five beads below. This is considered the 1st generation or Two-Five beads Abacus. It can be used to do calculations for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

The 2nd generation abacus is the One-Four Beads Abacus which has one bead above the divider and four beads below. The Japanese used this form of abacus called soroban influenced by the Chinese suan pan from ancient times right up to today. The One-Four Beads Abacus is one of the most popular learning abacus used in Abacus Mental Arithmetic training around the world especially in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

The 9 Beads Abacus also known as the 3rd generation abacus is derived from the One-Four Beads Abacus. It was innovated from the One-Four Beads Abacus to make Abacus Mental Arithmetic learning easier for young learners especially the pre-schoolers.

One-Four Beads Abacus and 9 Beads Abacus


One-Four Beads Abacus

This is the traditional abacus also known as Soroban. The beads above the divider which also known as Heaven Bead represent a value of 5. The beads below the divider which is the Earth Bead represent the value of 1.

9 Beads Abacus

9 Beads Abacus

The 9 Beads Abacus is a new generation abacus that is specially designed for young learners. Each beads represent a value of 1.

Why was 9 beads Abacus being innovated

9 Beads Abacus was innovated to resolve the challenge a young learner will face in learning One-Four beads Abacus. It’s simplify the abacus learning in

The value of each bead on the abacus represent 1. This make the counting of the beads logical and less abstract for the young

Learn the pairs of numbers that make 10 only. Unlike the One-Four Beads Abacus, the learner has to learn number bond of 5 and 10 which sometimes they will be confuse with the pairing

The step to carry-over on addition and “borrowing" on subtraction are make easier with lesser set of formulae to remember and apply them appropriately

Why 9 Beads Abacus as the teaching tool

Our founder, Joy Tay had work with the young learners on the One-Four Beads Abacus and witness the difficulties in the learning journey faced by them. She was introduced to the 9 Beads Abacus about a decade ago and decided to switch her teaching tool from One-Four Beads to 9 Beads. She strongly believes that the 9 Beads Abacus is a good tool to make learning easier and yet effective in achieving the same goal for the young learners.