Using the abacus engages all three learning modalities:
Improving visual processing speed can result in faster calculation and reading speed.
Improving the ability to retain auditory information.
Manipulating the abacus beads and solving problems with a unique hands-on method will engage the right side of the brain, which processes visuo-spatial information.
This multi-modality approach facilitates faster development of numerical fluency and math confidence. In addition, Master Lee’s personal teaching experience over the past decade has shown this approach to be effective in working with children with attention deficit issues.
"One could get superior mathematical abilities by acquiring the skill of Abacus-Based Mental Calculation (AMC), which can be used to solve calculation problems with exceptional speed and high accuracy" (Huang, 2015)
Mental abacus training can be associated with an improved ability to store visuo-spatial information. (Chen, 2011)
“These findings demonstrate that enriched experiences (e.g. mental abacus training) may improve basic cognitive capacities and possess utility for learning and education” (Chen, 2011)
“Abacus experts utilize visuo-spatial representations of digit sequences during digit span memory tasks and this strategy increases their digit span memory capacity” (Tanaka, 2002)
Knowing two ways (conventional and abacus) to represent arithmetic concepts gives a child a more abstract and flexible understanding of numbers, in the same way that knowing two languages leads to higher levels of metalinguistic knowledge. (Stigler, University of Chicago, 1986)
“Abacus skill has statistically significant correlations with grades in mathematics and reading” (Stigler, University of Chicago, 1986).
Chen, Min-Sheng, Tzu-Chang Wang, and Chih-Nan Wang. "Effect of Mental Abacus Training on Working Memory for Children." Journal of the Chinese Institute of Industrial Engineers 28.6 (2011): 450-57. Web.
Du, Fenglei, Feiyan Chen, Yongxin Li, Yuzheng Hu, Mei Tian, and Hong Zhang. "Abacus Training Modulates the Neural Correlates of Exact and Approximate Calculations in Chinese Children: An FMRI Study."BioMed Research International 2013 (2013): Web.
Frank, Michael C., and David Barner. "Representing Exact Number Visually Using Mental Abacus." Journal of Experimental Psychology 141.1 (2012): 134-49. Web.
Huang, Jian, Feng-lei Du, Yuan Yao, Qun Wan, Xiao-song Wang, Fei-yan Chen. "Numerical magnitude processing in abacus-trained children with superior mathematical ability: an EEG study." Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B 16.8 (2015): 661-71. Web.
Kim, Teng Siang. The Modality Factor in Two Approaches of Abacus-based Calculation and its Effects on Mental Arithmetic and School Mathematics Achievements. Thesis. Universiti Sains Malaysia, 2007. Web.
Stigler, James W., Laurence Chalip, and Kevin F. Miller. "Consequences of Skill: The Case of Abacus Training in Taiwan." American Journal of Education 94.4 (1986): 447-79. JSTOR. Web.
Tanaka, Satoshi, Chikashi Michimata, Tatsuro Kaminaga, Manabu Honda, and Norihiro Sadato. "Superior Digit Memory of Abacus Experts: An Event-related Functional MRI Study." NeuroReport 13.17 (2002): 2187-191. Web.
Tanaka, Satoshi, Keiko Seki, Takashi Hanakawa, Madoka Harada, Sho K. Sugawara, Norihiro Sadato, Katsumi Watanabe, and Manabu Honda. "Abacus in the Brain: A Longitudinal Functional MRI Study of a Skilled Abacus User with a Right Hemispheric Lesion." Frontiers in Psychology 315th ser. 3 (2012): Web.
Wu, Tung-Hsin, Chia-Lin Chen, Yung-Hui Huang, Ren-Shyan Liu, Jen-Chuen Hsieh, and Jason J. S. Lee. "Effects of Long-term Practice and Task Complexity on Brain Activities When Performing Abacus-based Mental Calculations: A PET Study." European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 36 (2009): 436-45. Web.