Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Mental Math Practice Worksheets

Today, we all know the importance of learning and marveling at mathematics. And every time we visit our children's schools we see Chinese and Indian students marveling at SATs. And we all know why they succeed in Engineering and Medical fields. Answer is quite simple, they are good at Math. But why are they so good? How did they study Math that makes them so good at that one arduous subject?

When we go to teacher meetings we are told by the teachers, to marvel at Math one must practice, practice and practice. But what if the child loses interest in practicing math? We all have had our share of experiencing the monotonous boring task of memorizing times tables. And after so many years, the same is repeated by the teachers everywhere, except, Asia. What do these Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Indians, etc.) do to make their children so good with Mathematics? Answer is quite simple, practice, practice & practice. But what is it that those students actually practice?

Lately, Abacus math has taken some of these Asian nations by storm. Abacus is a Latin word that has its origins in the Greek words abax or abakon (meaning "table" or "tablet") which in turn, possibly originated from the Semitic word abq, meaning "sand". The abacus is an instrument, a manual tool invented by the Chinese 2000 years ago. Over the past five years, in nations like Malaysia, Taiwan and India, countless tutoring centers like Sylvan, Huntington and Kumon have sprung up but with one goal in mind, tutor abacus math. Most of these centers offer training using the Japanese "Soroban abacus", which has one upper row of beads and four lower rows. The Soroban abacus is particularly effective for teaching mathematical calculating skills to young children.

Using an abacus, a child can do all arithmetic calculations up to 10 digits and master the skill of doing it mentally, without relying on modern devices such as calculators.

There are procedures and training methodologies to master abacus use. When children use both hands to move the beads for small and large arithmetic calculations, the quick communication between hands and brain not only stimulates brain cells promoting speedier and faster calculation ability but also promotes quick, balanced and whole brain development.

Now that you know what are all the benefits of learning abacus math - let us continue talking about practicing math. Every textbook comes with few practice problems and we always feel that these few problems are not enough. We want more practice problems for our children and students. The next best alternative is to find math practice worksheets. There are many websites that offer you downloadable practice worksheets for a small fee. And there are some websites that offer you for free. Some offer you predefined sheets where as very few websites offer you build your own math practice worksheets.

Usage of math practice sheets early on can instill a great habit of enjoying math and at the same time help to solidify mental math skills. And using these sheets to perform abacus math mentally is absolute fun for a child.

Shilpa Rao is an experienced abacus mental math tutor and focuses on curriculum development. To learn more about abacus mental math or to build your own math practice worksheets you can visit


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year

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