# How Does it Work?

## Unleashing the Power of the Physical and Mental Abacus

UCMAS promotes whole brain development, using the Abacus as a tool and Mental Math as a medium.

Abacus: The Amazing Abacus takes Learning to the Next Level

At UCMAS, students harness the power of the Abacus to boost their brainpower. The Abacus (or “counting table”) has been a trusted teaching tool for thousands of years and is still used today in parts of Asia and Russia. (Click here for more on the Abacus and its history). UCMAS uses the Japanese Abacus, called the Soroban, to help students visualize numbers on a base-10 system. Students learn to manipulate the countable beads to perform arithmetic calculations such as addition/subtraction and multiplication/division.

Over the last 25 years, several internationally noted research papers explored the secondary benefits of Abacus learning for children. These benefits include enhancements in: mental capacity, intuitive thinking, problem-solving and mental endurance. UCMAS students have fun using the world’s oldest calculator and see their math ability and overall confidence grow!

Mental Math: Students Rethink Math by Thinking in Pictures

Manipulating the beads of the Abacus helps children develop an ease and fluency with numbers and gives them a new perspective on how math works. Once students become adept at performing “mental aerobics” on the Abacus, they are trained to visualize the Abacus and ‘picture’ the beads moving as they swiftly solve problems in their mind. This emphasis on seeing in pictures is what sets the UCMAS approach apart.

Mental Math is the essential building block that replaces the physical Abacus in the child’s mind. Calculations are usually performed by our left, or logical brain, but in fact our right brain is much faster. Using mental snapshots of a virtual Abacus enables students to engage their right brain and solve questions much more quickly than they could before.

The figures that are to be calculated are visualized as beads on the Abacus, as opposed to numerals. This crucial concept of thinking in pictures and using the right brain leads to clearer thinking, improved memory, faster calculation speed and greater efficiency and accuracy.

And by the end of the UCMAS program, students will have stored over 450,000 Abacus images in their memory.