Zhusuan Method

To Remember Formulas

Chinese Zhusuan is a time honoured traditional method of performing mathematical calculations with an abacus. Practitioners can perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, exponential multiplication, root and more complicated equations by moving beads along the abacus rods according to defined formulas.

Chinese Zhusuan has played a vital role in giving an impetus to mathematical studies, promoting algorithmic practices and fostering intelligence. Zhusuan oral formulas have easy-to-learn rhymes that represent specific calculation rules and summarize the arithmetic operations. Beginners can make quick calculations after some fairly basic training, while proficient practitioners develop an agile mind.

Zhusuan is widely used in Chinese life and is an important symbol of traditional Chinese culture, providing a strong sense of cultural identity. It has been handed down through generations by traditional methods of oral teaching and self-learning. Training in abacus based mental arithmetic is thought to improve a child’s attention span, memory and mental capability. Today, it contributes to the advancement of calculating techniques, cognitive schemas, educational psychology and intellectual development. It also has a far-reaching influence in various fields of cultural creativity, including folk customs, language, literature, sculpture and architecture.

The addition & subtraction method of Zhusuan means getting rid of the formula and making the use of the relationship of complement and assembling number(friend numbers). This formulas of Zhusuan can be summarized as three rules:

  • While doing addition, look at the beads AWAY from the beam . If the beads are enough to add, do it. While doing subtraction, look at the beads CLOSE to the beam . If the beads are enough to subtract, do it.

  • While adding, if the earth beads are not enough, add five and subtract assembling (friend) numbers. While subtracting, if the beads are not enough, add assembling(friend) numbers and subtract five.

  • While adding, if the rod is full, carry one with tens rod and subtract the complement. While subtracting, if the beads on the rod are not enough, move back one with tens rod and add the complement.

So, as long as these three rules are understood, combine counting with it and then exercise by hands.

Practice by the continuous addition and subtraction of the fixed numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 to grasp the addition-subtraction method of mental arithmetic.

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