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Purpose of The Abacus
The Abacus is still in use today by shopkeepers in Asia and "Chinatowns" all over the world. The use of the abacus is still taught in Asian schools, and some schools in the West. Blind children are taught to use the abacus where their sighted counterparts would be taught to use paper and pencil to perform calculations.
One particular use for the abacus is teaching children simple mathematics and especially multiplication; the abacus is an excellent substitute for rote memorization of multiplication tables, a particularly detestable task for young children. The abacus is also an excellent tool for teaching other base numbering systems since it easily adapts itself to any base.
Anatomy & Construction - Abacus
The Abacus can be used to perform addition, subtraction, division and multiplication & can also be used to extract square-roots and cubic roots.
The abacus is typically constructed of various types of hardwoods and comes in varying sizes. The frame of the abacus has a series of vertical rods on which a number of wooden beads are allowed to slide freely. A horizontal beam separates the frame into two sections, known as the upper deck and the lower deck.