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Understanding Abacus Kit

Posted by Thej Academy on 07th October 2019


Abacus is a simple device with a frame, wire and grooves, that can be used to crack complex arithmetic problems. Yes, you read it right!!

The Abacus is the oldest known method of counting, known to mankind. Interestingly, It is widely known that a standard Abacus kit can be used to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. When used effectively, the Abacus kit can be used to extract Square root and Cubic roots. Currently, this ancient discovery is a tool of mathematical miracles these days.

Lets dive deep and get to know more details about the Amazing Abacus Kit.

Types of Abacus

In the meantime, how many of us know that an Abacus kit is typically referred as the Tallying frame? The Abacus is a highly versatile calculating device, invented by Ancient Chinese. But, firstly what does ABACUS stand for?

  • A stands for Abundant
  • B stands for Beads
  • A stands for Addition
  • C stands for Calculation
  • U stands for Utility
  • S stands for System

Above all, the Anatomy and construction of an Abacus Kit varies from place to place depending upon its make and users, the types of Abacus varies widely. Previously, the Romans, Chinese Japanese, East- Asians and Vietnamese had played quite a game of Arithmetic’s in the evolution of the Abacus. Be in its structure, design and its usage, the variation was tiny, yet profound.

Similarly, we have painted quite a picture about the various Types of Abacus Kits in our article.

The Abacus kit used at Thej Academy

We at Thej Academy, stick to the classics, as Old is gold, you see!

The abacus kit being one of the most widely used calculating device, we take pride in teaching it using the classic structured kit. It is indeed provided with 17 vertical rods with 5 beads on each of them. We teach using the basic Abacus Kit that has a flat rectangular frame with a centre dividing median. The bead arrangement moreover defines its usage as it has four beads at the bottom and one on the top.

The abacus we teach in Thej Academy includes addition, subtraction, lengthy multiplication and complex divisions. Additionally, advanced calculations like square root and cubic root can also be calculated using the Abacus kit.

Understanding the Abacus Kit

The Abacus kit comes in varying types of hardwoods, eventually in differing sizes. The commercially and most commonly used abacus kit is the one shown in the picture below. Above all, understanding the abacus kit before venturing into abacus classes is highly important. While we at Thej Academy, have made it a mandate.

Understanding Abacus Kit Poster - Thej Academy
Anatomy of an Abacus kit


  • The abacus kit consists of a rectangular frame on which which the whole set up is mounted. Consequently, the frame has vertical rods on which the beads slide freely.
  • The frame comes in a variety of colours and textures. Adding to that, a horizontal beam is present on the top half of the frame which divides the frame into two unequal sections.
  • The upper portion is called the Upper Deck and the lower portion is called the Lower Deck.


  • The beads are Arebi conical in shape. They indeed slide vertically along the length of the rods attached to the frame.
  • The modern abacus kit has one bead on the top portion and four beads on the lower portion. The Heavenly bead is on the upper region of the abacus kit. Following this, the Earthly beads are on the lower half.

The Answering Bar or Reckoning Bar

  • The middle bar is the Reckoning bar. This is indeed the horizontal bar that divides the upper and the lower portion of the abacus kit.
  • The reckoning bar plays a vital role in the whole procedure of working on an abacus kit.
  • When the beads are moved towards the reckoning bar, it is counted by its own value. Whereas, in order to set the kit to zero value, push the beads to their original position from the reckoning bar.

House Points

  • The house point is the third rod along the length of the beam. It is marked distinctly on the beam, indeed as a dot.
  • The unit rods are the vertical rods that carry the dot indication. These rods carry a unit number.
  • The Abacus kit user decides which housing point to use.

Heavenly Bead (Upper deck)

  • The Upper deck of the abacus kit has a single row of beads.
  • These heavenly beds has a value of five per bead. Move the heavenly bead towards the reckoning bar, the actual value adds to five. Sounds indeed simple, doesn’t it?

Earthly Beads (Lower deck)

  • The Lower deck of the abacus kit indeed consists of vertical columns of four beads each.
  • Each earthly bead counts to the value of one. Thus, there are four earthly beads on each vertical rod.
  • For example, move an earthly bead towards the reckoning bar, it adds to one. Secondly, move two beads towards the reckoning bar, it adds as two.


  • With better understanding of the heavenly and earthly bead values in an abacus kit, it is a simple task working on it.
  • For instance, move a heavenly bead towards the reckoning bar.
  • Following it, add 3 earthly beads towards the reckoning bar, on the same vertical rod.
    • One heavenly bead = 5
    • Three earthly beads = 1 + 1 + 1 = 3
    • Therefore, the total value is undoubtedly 8. As simple as that!!

Not to forget, use the index finger and the thumb to manipulate the beads .

Reading numbers using the Abacus Kit

Easy down kids!! With the basics of an abacus kit, reading numbers on it comes in super handy!

To begin with, lets know the place values in an abacus kit. The centre column/ the main key point starts with the ones (1,2,3..). Secondly, The very left column to it values to Tens( 10,20,30..). The third left column from the centre adds to Hundreds(100,200..) and so on.

Fret not! We have got easy examples for your better understanding. (Of course, with self explanatory pictures- as always!!)

Handling single digits using Abacus

Furthermore, before we start any calculation in an abacus kit, it is important to set the kit to zero. This can be done by zipping the index finger along with the thumb along the reckoning bar. Clearly, this is done in order to make sure that there are no beads attached to the same. This is the preliminary step to begin with the actual calculation.

Should we learn something beforehand?

Yes, absolutely!!

When there are no beads towards the reckoning bar, the value is undoubtedly zero. Lets begin with the earthly beads on the housing point. It is known that the place value of this column is one for the earthly beads and five for the heavenly beads.

Single Digit Counting, Understanding Abacus Kit - Thej Academy
Fig-1 Solving single digit numbers using Abacus kit

Step by step approach

  • Step 1: Gently slide one earthly bead towards the reckoning bar. It adds to one.
  • Step 2: Furthermore, pushing 3 of them towards the reckoning bar can be valued as 1+1+1 = 3. Yaay! You just did it!!
  • Step 3: Meanwhile, lets play with the heavenly beads a bit. Bring down the heavenly bead in the same column. We already know that each heavenly bead values as 5.
  • Step 4: With a 5 on top and 3 on bottom, finally, the end result will be as follows:
    • One heavenly bead = 5
    • Three earthly beads = 1 + 1 + 1 = 3
    • 5 + 3 = 8

That is it !! Addition using an abacus kit is this simple!

Two digit numbers using abacus

In short, the first column to the left of the key point, refers to tens. Lets make use of the tens column to work on two digit numbers.

Two Digit Counting, Understanding Abacus Kit - Thej Academy
Fig-2 Solving two digit numbers using Abacus kit
  • Step 1: For instance, move an earthly bead on the tens column. It counts to 10. After that, adding 2 or 3 beads on the tens column adds to 20 and 30 respectively.
  • Step 2: Let us use both the ones and tens columns together now. Gently slide an earthly bead on tens column. Furthermore, slide a heavenly bead and 3 earthly beads on the ones column.
    • Tens column = 10
    • Ones column = 5 + 4 = 9
    • 10 + 9 = 19
  • Step 3: The heavenly bead in Tens column adds to 50, right? Slide a heavenly bead along with an earthly bead in the tens column. Do the same in the ones column. The resulting value would be as follows:
    • Tens column : 50 + 10 = 60
    • Ones column: 5 + 1 = 6
    • Total value = 66

Three digits using the Abacus kit

Dealing with three digits is indeed as easy as one and two digits in an abacus kit. The second column to the left of the key point stands for hundreds . Lets make use of the ones, tens and hundreds column to work on three digit numbers.

Three Digit Counting, Understanding Abacus Kit - Thej Academy
Fig-3 Solving three digit numbers using Abacus kit
  • Step 1: Gently slide an earthly bead on the hundreds column towards the reckoning bar. The value on your kit now is 100
  • Slide an earthly bead on the tens column. Subsequently, add a heavenly and three earthly beads on the ones column. What do you count?
    • Hundreds column = 100
    • Tens column = 10
    • Ones Column = 5 + 3 = 8
    • Total value = 118
  • Step 2: Initially, Add a heavenly bead along with an earthly bead on the hundreds column.
  • Following that, add on two earthly beads on the tens and three earthly beads on the ones column.
  • What do you count?
    • Hundreds column = 500 + 100 = 600
    • Tens column = 10 + 10 = 20
    • Ones Column = 1 + 1 + 1 = 3
    • Total value = 600 + 20 + 3 = 623

The similar method applies for subtraction as well. For example, pull off a bead to reduce a value from the total count. The abacus kit is literally a boon for children struggling to understand number values and basic arithmetic’s.

That is it ! Calculating three digit numbers have never been this easier indeed!


In this competitive world of improvised technology, the human brain is least used. Moreover, this highly impacts children and their innate skills. Learning abacus not only improves their memory power, but also fine tunes their focus. We at Thej academy, use the Abacus kit as a tool to sharpen kids minds. Thej Academy also believes in making math fun with a variety of inquisitive courses. Right from introducing the Abacus kit to solving complicated problems, Thej Academy makes sure that children are given individual care. On the other hand, it is scientifically proven that, with advanced abacus skills, solving multilevel arithmetic’s becomes easier. Not to mention, Abacus also contributes to progressive logical reasoning and problem solving skills. In conclusion, this can effectively be used to Sharpen the minds of children, leading to their successful future!

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