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An Old Friend and An Abacus

by Early Math Counts

When my husband was a child living in Laramie, Wyoming he befriended a boy from Japan who was spending a year in the US with his family.  His father was a visiting scholar at the University of Wyoming.  Although they only spent one year playing together, this friendship held something special for both of them.  When they recently reconnected via Facebook, all of the stories of their 8th grade year came flooding back.  Last week we had the pleasure of hosting his son for the weekend, He is a college sophomore studying in Missouri.

It turns out that his father, the 8th grader from Wyoming, is now a teacher and business person who specializes in THE ABACUS.

You all know that I love the abacus.  It is an ancient tool that can do everything a modern-day computer can do, without electricity. In countries around the world, even very young children complete pretty sophisticated computations using the abacus.  Watch this video to see the results.

For general information about the abacus and how it can be used, click here.

If you, yourself do not know how to use a simple abacus, watch this short tutorial, which will give you enough information to feel comfortable introducing it to the children in your care.

If you want to challenge yourself, check out this website.  There, you can practice your skills.

3 Replies to “An Old Friend and An Abacus”

  1. Hi Jen!

    How wonderful that your husband and his friend from Japan maintained their friendship over the years and that their son\’s are now friends

    Last night when the entire Blackboard System went down – I reflected on simpler times when work was done in the class – and written work resulted in typewritten documents we could easily comment on and grade………I wonder how it would be to calculate grades using the abacus !

    This Christmas your link will be the topic of discussion I am sure with my little nieces who are 7 5 and 3 during their visit – (that is once my hubby tires of the link) – He loves the idea of the abacus too as he feels calculators have taken away our ability to do \”real\” math –

    1. Many researchers agree wholeheartedly with your husband. There is an entire body of research that links the abacus, and eastern math teaching with superior math abilities. I personally, think it has to do with instilling a very strong number sense in children and the absence of teaching \”tricks\” to do math.

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