Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wonderful wonderful Abacus!

How many of you know what is abacus and how to use it? If you don’t know what is abacus, look at the picture there, and you can go to Wikipedia to find more about it.

My first exposure to abacus was ten years ago when Syafiq attended the Mental Arithmetic. Since the teacher gave him a lot of homework to do, I have to also learned how to use it. Furthermore, I had been trying to learn it since I was small when I saw the Chinese tauke used abacus to calculate my mom's groceries.

It is easy to use once you know the concept. But if you do not use it regularly, you will get rusty. That’s what happened to me. After eight years of not using the abacus, I have to learn it again. 

The new mathematic curriculum included abacus as part of its teaching tool. Every student must have abacus, and they must bring with them during mathematics class. I thought that it would be easy for me to use it again, but I was wrong.

When Zaki asked me to teach him using abacus, it took me a while to remember the rules. I have to dig deep into my memory to remember it. Alhamdulillah, I still remember how to use it. I can still remember how to do addition using abacus, but not subtraction. 

When he asked me to how to do subtraction using abacus tonight, I was stumped. I can’t remember how it was done. After few attempts, I gave up, and taught him the traditional way of doing subtraction.

I found that abacus has developed Syafiq’s mathematics skill. He is no great mathematicians, but when it comes to solving mathematics problem, he will get the answer correctly and fast. In fact, there were few times he preferred to use his fingers, as if he has the abacus with him, to calculate than using his calculator. It is much faster for him to get the answer. That's how wonderful abacus is.

Meantime, I have to brush up my abacus again, or else Zaki will have problems doing his homework. 

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