Define Abacus

We cannot imagine counting without numbers, but there was a time when written numbers did not exist. Earlier counting devices that were used for counting are the human hands and their fingers that are capable of counting only up to ten. Toes were also used to count when they had to count more than ten. A larger quantity was counted, with the help of natural items like pebbles, seashells and twigs. Merchants who used to trade goods needed a way to keep count of the goods they bought and sold. 

Before the invention of computers, calculators, or even arithmetic using paper and pencil, the abacus was mostly used for counting numbers. Before the invention of the abacus, the only methods people used were their fingers and toes for mathematical calculations. In this article, we will discuss the abacus meaning their application and abacus for kids.

What is Abacus?

It is an instrument that is used to calculate or count by using sliding counters and a rod. It was indeed the world's first calculator. It was first used in Europe, China, and Russia.

The old version of the Abacus was a shallow tray that consisted of sand where numbers could be erased easily when needed. The modern abacus can be made up of wood or plastic. It is like a rectangular box consisting of nine vertical rods strung with beads.

What is the Meaning of Abacus?

Abacus Meaning- Abundant Beads Addition Calculation Utility System.

The abacus is constructed of various types of hardwoods and comes in various sizes. The frame consists of a series of vertical rods on which a number of wooden beads are allowed to slide freely. A horizontal beam used to separate the frame into two sections i.e the upper deck and the lower deck. Each rod consists of beads, which we can move up and down, with the help of the index and the thumb finger.

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Types of Abacus

Abacus is a man-made calculating device invented around 5000 years ago. According to Historians, it was the Chinese people who invented Abacus around 500BC. As time passed, the design of an abacus kit has widely varied in terms of style, size and material but the design of abacus kits remains to be in a combination of rods and pebbles.

Abacus Computer

It is used to show how numbers, letters, and signs can be stored in a binary system on a computer, or using an ASCII number. The device consists of a series of beads on parallel wires that are arranged in three separate rows. The beads in the abacus represent a switch on the 

computer in either an "on" or "off" position.

At what age, should we get an abacus for kids?

Students have learned numbers by the age of 5-6. So, they can be introduced to abacus training, after that they can start practising addition and subtraction.

Who Used the First Abacus to Count?

Mesopotamia or Sumerian civilization used the first abacus to count. It is the belief that Old Babylonian scholars have used this abacus to perform as addition or subtraction of numbers. 

Use of Abacus

  1. It is used to perform addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. 

  2. It can also be used to extract square-roots and cubic roots of a number. 

  3. The beads are manipulated with the help of the index finger or the thumb of one hand.

Chinese Abacus

The abacus is called “suanpan” in China. The divider is used to separate the left and right strings of beads. It has a total of seven beads, out of which two beads on the rods on one side and 5 beads on the rods on the other side of the divider. Chinese abacuses are designed to be used for hexadecimal computation. Chinese also use their abacuses for decimal computations. It can be used for doing division, multiplication and for taking square roots and cube roots as well if the user knows the techniques.

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Did You Know?

  • Even today we use Abacus in certain parts of the world as a primary calculation or as a backup to modern counting devices. It is still used commonly in Japan, China, the Middle East, and Russia. It is a counting frame. It is used as a calculating tool

  • The plural form of Abacus is Abaci.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Abacus?

Ans: Abacus, is an instrument that is used to perform calculations by sliding counters along with rods or grooves.

2. How Do We Use an Abacus?

Ans: The standard abacus is used to perform basic mathematical application addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. It can also be used to calculate square-roots and cubic roots of numbers. We have to manipulate beads either using the index finger or the thumb of one hand.

3. How Many Parts are There in Abacus?

Ans: Abacus is divided into the upper and the lower part by a horizontal bar known as the Beam.