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**Abacus Learning**

The Chinese abacus was known as the suan pan. It was invented in the 11th century. The mandarin term suan pan means the calculating plate. In the later part of the century this was spread to Korea and Japan. The Japanese termed this abacus as soroban.

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The soroban is similar to suan pan and only differed slightly in the construction but the counting technique remained the same. Soroban is made of a frame with vertical rods on which beads move up and down, dividing the upper and lower portion into a horizontal bar called the beam.

In a soroban one bead sits above the beam and four beads sits below. The beads above the beam are called heaven beads and have a value of 5. Similarly the beads below are called earth beads and have a value of 1.

The basic technique of setting numbers on the board is with the help of only thumb and index fingers. The thumb is used to move the earth beads up toward the beam while the index finger moves all other beads.

Another technique is always worked from left to right. This helps in solving mathematical problems with ease because the numbers are added and subtracted the way we read and hear them. In order to give an example, consider 125 + 436 = 561.

Working left to right set 125 on the soroban. Now for solving set 125 on the board and add 4 to the hundreds rod, 3 to the tens and 6 to the units rod leaving 561 which is the answer.