Course Discussion: Module 1, Abacus Beginnings

Abacus Beginnings

  1. Identify evaluations or describe student characteristics you have used to determine if a student on your caseload will be taught to use an abacus. Based on what you learned from this module, what might you do differently?

  2. Are you comfortable using the correct fingers to move the beads? Do you see this as a positive or barrier when working with students?

  3. At this point in your learning, compare using the Partner Method to the Counting Method.

  4. Create a problem with five single digits, addition and subtraction, and no complementary number movements.

My daughter is 10 and uses the partner method on the abacus. We are both comfortable using the correct fingers to move the beads. She did use the counting method initially and will sometimes revert back. But the counting method is so much slower. 9-2+1-6+5=7

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Hi Kimberly!
When did your daughter switch to using the partner method more than the counting method?

I am not sure but I don’t remeber her doing exercises like these and I think they would have helped. Not only with finger placement but also learning the fast facts.

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I am an adult student preparing to return back to school and I am learning the Crammer abacus. I was introduced to the abacus about two weeks ago and started learning it using the counting method from right to left. So far, I understand the partner method and plan to practice this method daily. More often than not, I calculate math with the largest number first. Therefore, using the Partner method will coincide with how I calculate math in my head. As a student, I am comfortable using certain fingers to move the beads. I have found this exercise to be extremely helpful. I believe this is a positive procedure that will help increase accuracy and speed since I am a new abacus user.

2+5+1-3+1

Welcome to the course, Brwnsugar.taurus! I am so glad the partner method meets your needs. You correctly provided a problem with no complementary number movements.

The student must be able to understand complimentary numbers, greater than and less than.
I am comfortable using my fingers to move beads.
I don’t really understand the partner, is that when you use the tens column? I don’t understand why you don’t move down the top bead to indicate 10 and how do you substract something such as 17 - 3?
6-1+3-1

Hi tlsmith!
A complementary number movement is when you need to break apart a number in order to place it on the abacus. The problem 6-1+3-1 demonstrates a problem that you can do because it is what you have practiced and there are no complementary number movements. You had beads available when asked to add or subtract them. The example of 2-2+5-3 is a problem with complimentary number movements because there are no lower beads to remove when you need to subtract 3, even though it practices the addition of a 5-bead.

When evaluating students I use a variety of methods including observation, teacher made assessments and classroom teacher questioners. Most of my student who are using the abacus are functionally blind. After watching this module I’d like to incorporate using more combinations of adding to 5 and 10.

Using the correct fingers is not difficult for me, however I tend to default to what is comfortable and let my students do the same as long as it does not hinder their progress.

I am familiar with the counting method and the cramner method and uses those both in my instruction to students depending on their needs. The partner method is new to me I look forward to learning more about it. My biggest take away is teaching student how to make groups of 10 and 5.

4-2+1+5-3=5

Hi Lynda - welcome to the course! I am not sure what the cramner method is, but there is a chance it uses the partner method. Does the cramner method use terms such direct and indirect or synthesis?
Your problem is a great example of one which has no complementary number movements.

I’m taking the course to refresh my limit knowledge of using an Abacus to determine if I would benefit from the upcoming APH webinar I’m a retired CVRT who still enjoys learning new skills.
Getting comfortable with the correct fingers to move the beads. Being extremely left handed, I was concerned that I might have some issues with utilitzing right hand- working out just fine.
Math was a week subject for me. Complementary numbers?? Thanks APH for offering the couurse.

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Welcome! A complementary number movement is when you need to break apart a number in order to place it on the abacus. The problem 6-1+3-1 demonstrates a problem that you can do because it is what you have practiced and there are no complementary number movements. You had beads available when asked to add or subtract them. The example of 2-2+5-3 is a problem WITH complimentary number movements because there are no lower beads to remove when you need to subtract 3, even though it practices the addition of a 5-bead.

This is my first time using the Hive. Finger movement is going well. Trying also to mentally visualize the sums as you read them aloud, to see how people can do the abacus mentally, as was stated earlier in course. I have used the abacus to count my annual trick or treaters, but otherwise had not touched it since grad school. I think more blind and deafblind adults could use this tool, so am refreshing my skills.

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Welcome to the APH Hive, Judith! Feel free to share this learning opportunity as everyone is welcome (parents, general education teachers, etc.).
Happy to hear your finger movements are going well. Give creating a problem a try as it will help you later when teaching others.

I have never worked with a physical abacus and am using this module as my initial introduction to the abacus. Because of this I don’t feel fully comfortable with it as a tool yet. This module has taught me a lot of initial vocabulary I need to remember before I adjust my teaching practices.

  1. I have mostly used trial and error. Once they began rushing through the basic abacus, I introduced the cranmer. I inherited an abacus instrutional manual that teaches a different method (rule of 4, 9, 49, 99 etc). It has been difficult to get the students to observe when those rules apply - especially with larger digit numbers. I like the multi-digit addition problems to start using the partner method, because there are fewer rules for kids to be multitasking. I think it’s more straightforward.
  2. For some students with fine motor differences, it might be a challenge. However, I like the spatial memorization component. I think it is positive, it’s just sometimes hard to get buy-in from some students.
  3. The Counting Method requires counting, and one more than and one less than, and is great for students with multiple impairments. The Partner method requires understanding complementary numbers
  4. 6+3-4+1+2

Welcome, nieberding.28!
The beauty of a Hive course is that you can go back and re-watch the same module until the vocabulary is consistent in your brain!

Welcome, appleton.thea!
I agree - less rules covered step by step feels more straightforward to me. The multi-digit addition and subtraction allows for a student to feel successful more often.
Great problem with no complementary number movements!