An abacus is a manual calculating tool where beads are moved up and down on a series of sticks or strings within a plastic or wooden frame to perform a mathematical operation. This course utilizes the Japanese counting tray called Soroban, which consists of a wooden frame with columns of beads that represent either 1s or 5s. For hundreds of years, this tool was used by bankers and merchants in Japan as a calculator.

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Today, most children are taught to use electronic calculators prior to mastering the basics of arithmetic. In many Asian nations, young children learn basic arithmetic using an entirely different method. This method teaches children to actively perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using the abacus. Further, the visual imagery of a Soroban can help in performing such calculations in the same time as, or even faster than, is possible with a calculator.

The benefits of learning this system are:

• Mastery of numbers.
• Development of problem solving / thinking skills.
• Superior computational ability
• Freedom from calculators
• Increase in concentration
• Building confidence for performing mental calculations

The course will be taught by an experienced abacus teacher, Mrs. Mahasweta Bhattacharya. It is designed for children aged 5yrs to 7yrs+. The class size is restricted to six children, in order to provide individual attention.

The course is divided into two sections of 15 weeks each. Classes will be held on Wednesday evenings, from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. At the end of the course students would have increased their proficiency in performing simple arithmetic operations mentally, without the Abacus tool.

Course Outline:

Section 1 (weeks 1-15)

Introduction to the Abacus tool, beads, and the process of moving the beads
Addition and Subtraction of single digit numbers
Introduction of Small Friends and addition & subtraction using the Small Friend formula
Introduction of Big Friends and addition & subtraction using the Big Friend formula
Addition & Subtraction of single digit numbers of 5 rows without the Abacus tool.

Section 2 (next 15 weeks)

Children will build on the expertise obtained in Section 1 and use the concepts and formulae of abacus to perform mental calculations involving addition and subtraction of single digit numbers of 8 rows, with and without Abacus.

The fees are $300 for each section (equivalent to $20 per one hour class) plus a $15 charge for supplies. Each student will be provided with a small plastic frame soroban for practice at home. In order to benefit from the course, it is required that children register for the entire section.

For details, please email mentalmath@mentorsacademy.net, or call 443-812-1546/443-516-7543.