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How To Use A Chinese Abacus: A step-by-step guide to addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, roots and more. Paperback – April 19, 2012
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The entire explanation of how to use an Abacus is completely obvious and lacking any method. For example, in addition there is an example of adding 6421 + 425. When adding 400 to 6421, it says in column 3 (4 + 4): "Upper deck, register1 bead to add 500; lower deck, unregister 1 bead to minus 100." Obvious.
The proper way to perform 4 + 4 on an abacus is to consider the complement of 4 with regards to 5. The complements with regard to 5 are (4 & 1) and (3 & 2). Since we cannot add 4 more beads to the lower register, we set the 5 bead on the upper register and subtract the compliment of 4, which is 1. The book doesn't touch the concept of complementary numbers on 10 or 5.
The difference is subtle. The explanation that you add 5 and then subtract 1 (as 5 - 1 = 4) to add 4 is correct; however, it requires mental calculations. The explanation of complementary numbers on 5 (4 & 1) and (3 & 2) and complementary numbers on 10 (9 & 1) (8 & 2) (7 & 3) (6 & 4) (5 & 5) makes much abacus work mechanical. It's the same difference as teaching someone to compute (97 - 105) via the borrowing method rather than telling them to instead compute (105 - 97) and make the result negative.
Sections on Multiplication and such necessarily require more solid theory.
Heffelfinger & Flom have a better guide online.
Most recent customer reviews
It explains everything about the Abacus!!!