There are several approaches to teaching the use of the abacus. Since one method might not work effectively for all students, teachers should be familiar with several methods. The most commonly used approaches are:
Each is briefly described below, with an example (3+4=7) worked out according to that approach.
The logic method or partner method focuses on understanding the “what” and “why” of the steps in solving a problem on the abacus. It requires that the student know the partners or compliments of the numbers up to ten (5=2+3, 5=1+4). Verbalizing the steps and the reasons for each movement made on the abacus is an important feature of this approach. At first, the teacher must explain the steps and reasons as the student works through the problem. Then the student shouldverbalize the process as he or she works the problem. Over time, this “conversation” can be shortened, and finally the process is internalized. This approach would benefit students who can follow the explanation and can understand, and even enjoy, the logical concepts involved.