How to Multiply and Divide Using an Abacus

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You have probably heard that some people can carry out complex mathematical procedures with an abacus faster than you can use a calculator to get the same effect. These people sound like geniuses. They must know something you don't. Now you won't be in the dark with regards to this ancient tool. Read on to learn how to multiply and divide using an abacus.

Skill level:


    Multiply With an Abacus

  1. 1

    Know the sections of the abacus. The large beaded section is the primary operations section, while the smaller beads occupy the auxilary operations section.

  2. 2

    Put your multiplicant in the right hand section of the auxilary section and your multiplier on the right. This step helps keep things organized so that you can refer to it if need be.

  3. 3

    Calculate the sums of the multiplication in the primary operations field, starting on the right as you would if you were to multiply on paper and proceeding in similar fashion.

  4. 4

    Finish with the two furthest left (top and bottom) numbers being multiplied and then added to the sums you've calculated. There's your answer.

    Divide With an Abacus

  1. 1

    Set the auxilary field on the left equal to the divisor.

  2. 2

    Put the dividend into the primary operations section.

  3. 3

    Divide each section as you would on paper, keeping track of the quotient in the right auxilary field. Subtract the number of the quotient multiplied by the divisor from the dividend between each section so that you have a method of checking for accuracy.

  4. 4

    Stop when the dividend is no longer equal to, or greater than, the divisor.

Tips and warnings

  • You can divide by reversing the multiplication steps, so you can keep this in mind to keep either of them straight.

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