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The Chinese Abacus - Short Essay

Categories: Chinese

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.

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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.

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I made my Abacus by simply getting four wood planks and nailing them together to make a wooden frame.

Then I got another wood plank and nailed in the middle to make the cross rod. I drilled 13 holes on the cross rod, the top, and bottom of the frame. I got a stick stuck it through the top of the frame, placed two beads in and stuck it through the cross rod, added five more beads then stuck the stick through the bottom part of the frame thus making the first column. I continued this process 12 more times until I finished all of the 13 columns. After I was done I painted my frame purple and I was finished. A perfectly crafted Chinese Abacus made within one and a half hours. .

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The Chinese Abacus - Short Essay. (2017, Jan 02). Retrieved from

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