Vedic Math Vs. Abacus: Which One To Choose For Boosting Your Calculation Skills?

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Academics preach all the obligated notions to enlighten students. However, some handy tricks and tools can mold the concepts better. While parents and instructors look for such functional pedagogies, learning Vedic math or Abacus can be a great take in.  

Derived from Atharva Veda, Vedic Math is a collection of ancient strategies and techniques for speeding up and improving the efficiency of mathematical calculations. On the contrary, the abacus is often referred to as a counting frame. It is a calculating device that has been around since antiquity. It was used centuries before the Arabic numeral system was adopted in the ancient Middle East, Russia, Europe, and China.

Choosing one among them can be often baffling. Correspondingly, we will edify you with some valuable insights to aid your resolution. 

Vedic Math And Abacus – Do we really need?

Abacus and Vedic math both can be crucial to gain an edge in understanding mathematics. While they contribute to the development of the speed of math and accuracy, Vedic Math is categorically a set of pre-eminent regulations to make math easy. On the flip side, Abacus is a handy reckoner that can make estimates accurate. Learning these can take from six months to a couple of years based on the learning abilities of the pupil.

Ideally, both concepts and tools are pivotal. For that reason, the choice of one among them may vary from one individual to another. Evidently, these brush-up number skills, and consequently memory and performance. Mastering Vedic math and/or Abacus aids students contemplate operations with ease and accuracy.

Learning With Abacus- The edges you should infer

Being a handy estimator, Abacus can be learned by anyone from the tender age of 5. It improves core skills, such as concentration, creativity, visualization, memory, confidence, and so on. 

Here is how Abacus adds value:

  1. Effective Tool for Strengthening Basic Skills: Operating with beads gives out a visual cue for every calculation, thus implicitly strengthening basics of math like numbers, addition, subtraction and other operations. 
  2. Improved motor Skills: Operating with beads can be a great means to instigate finger moments, thus ameliorating motor skills in kids. 
  3. Non-symbolic number sense: Numbers can be inferred without paper and symbols. Evidently, calculations are the central point of consideration. Research by Jiaxin Cui[1] showed that children learning abacus have enhanced non-symbolic number sense. 
  4. Spatial Memory: Working with Abacus requires the learners to remember intermediate values to apply later to derive final answers. This amplifies visual-spatial memory in them. A Research by Chunjie Wang[2] supports the same. 
  5. Enhances listening and observation skills: When a child is being taught abacus, they need to observe the various methods and patterns of calculation. Besides, while solving an arithmetic problem, they need to listen to the question patiently. This helps develop their listening and observation skills at an early age.
  6. Strong academic foundation: Having a clearer idea of basic mathematical concepts and carrying out calculations, learning abacus easily creates a strong academic foundation for an individual.
  7. Ameliorated Creativity: While it aids computations to learners, Abacus gives out a chance to solve problems in their own ways. This magnifies logical analytical thinking and creativity. A research by Fateme Bibak[3] found that Abacus training can have a positive effect on creativity and self-efficacy. 

Learning With Abacus- What needs to be brushed up?

While it does ensure myriads of benefits, it also comes with certain disadvantages. Being an astounding manipulator for studying basic math, Abacus may sometimes have pitfalls. While most of them can be vanquished, you may need to infer them in advance. 

  1. Not Fitting for advanced Math: Being a peerless reckoner to make accurate calculations, abacus is limited to solve simple operations like addition, subtraction, division and multiplication only. For this reason, it may be apt for primary schoolers and simple calculations only. 
  2. Needs the Pupil to keep track of results: Abacus, in most cases need single step operations only. On that account, the learner may need to remember intermediate values to put them in final valuations. While this feature may improve spatial memory, it may be taxing at times.
  3.  Fear of Uncertainty: Learning Abacus includes inferring how to use it. Parents often get bewildered if learning it can create confusion with school math in their kids. While experts claim abacus to be in fact nifty, the fear is still evident. 

Learning Vedic Math- Mastering basic arithmetic’s effortlessly

Retrieved from the Vedas, Vedic math incorporates a list of mathematical techniques that helps improve the basic arithmetic skills of an individual. While any interested aspirant can grasp it, mostly it is inculcated in the fourth or fifth grade.

It comes with a plethora of advantages which comprise intelligent decision-making skills to carry out both easy and complex mathematical calculations, reducing the load of memorizing difficult concepts, strengthening memory span, and so on. Let us explore some more benefits:

  1. Makes basic calculations faster: With the mere implementation of Vedic math, you will be able to learn and apply basics and simple calculations can be made faster[4], thus saving time and boost productivity.
  2. Enhances our understanding of mathematics and provides independence:  It allows us to see connections and continuity between different branches of mathematics. The Vedic Math approach also provides us with a set of independent cross-checking techniques for everything we undertake.
  3. Improves focus: Vedic math increases cognitive abilities by distinct strategies and frequent practice. Consequently it hones mind.
  4. Aids in reducing blunders: It helps boost focus and facilitates effective approach methods that take up less time. Further, it aids in reducing silly mistakes.
  5. Assists in making precise guesses: Mathematics is a subject wherein one wrong step can result in the whole calculation going wrong. Not only does Vedic math help with accuracy in calculations but also in making precise guesses.
  1. Applicable to all levels of education: Any individual with an age of 8 or above  belonging to any class will be able to gain knowledge about Vedic math effortlessly. It applies to all degrees of education. 
  1. Helps build confidence: Not only is it very simple, direct, and unconventional, but it also acts as a tool for reducing finger counting and scratch work. It aids in the improvement of concentration as well as confidence.
  1. Assists in the development of personality and creativity: The Vedic Math system aids us in the development of our spiritual side to some extent. It can encourage creativity in kids,  further assisting slow learners in grasping basic mathematical ideas. Increased use of Vedic math can exhilarate children’s interest in a subject that they normally despise.

Schooling Vedic Math- Hiccups to deal with

With a history of centuries, Vedic math is believed to process traits to enhance math learning. However, instructors and learners may contemplate a few hitches to make the experience finer.

  1. There are no general rules yet have too many rules: Vedic math rules are just for specific problems. However, for each operation, such as multiplication, there are many rules for various kinds of situations. This leads to a lot of confusion.
  1. More mental calculations are required: Solving problems with Vedic methods necessitates the use of more mental computations.
  1.  Rules must be memorized and are tough to cross-check: Rules and algorithms for solving problems are complicated and must be remembered. Each rule seems to be quite difficult to recall. Since you can only find the algorithms in cross-checks, cross-checking the solutions becomes difficult.

Vedic Math Vs. Abacus- Which One To Go For?

Developed by Shri Bharati Krishna Tirthaji, Sankaracharya of Puri, Vedic maths is a speed math strategy to perform mathematical calculations – employing a list of sutras from Vedas. In total, there are 16 sutras (formulae) and 13 sub sutras (sub formulae). Multiplication, divisibility, complex numbers, squaring, cubing, square roots, cube roots, recurring decimals, and auxiliary fractions are all streamlined using Vedic Maths, an old technique. 

On the contrary, an abacus is a calculating tool that performs arithmetic functions by sliding counters along with rods or grooves. The abacus can compute roots up to the cubic degree in addition to the basic functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. 

Vedic math has ease of flexibility, as its sutras encompass wide-ranging concepts like decimals and auxiliary fractions. A distinct approach to resolving the queries not only brings down the burden of memorizing but also makes the learner an intelligent decision-maker. 

On the other hand, Abacus deals with arithmetic operations and precise estimations. This reckoner has a discrete set of edges. Being a handy tool for computations, it ameliorates visualizations, speed, and accuracy of calculations. 

Consequently, putting away general manifestations, the choice among these is nevertheless debatable. The individual may take a stand as an instructor, mentor, or parent to choose the right one of these in view of various personal and external aspects. 

Conclusion 

We can conclude that both the abacus and Vedic math benefit in the development of math speed and accuracy. However, Vedic Math has a wide range of applications, not just addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Vedic Math includes speed-building methods for squares, cubes, square roots, cube roots, HCF, LCM, and other higher computations that are also simple enough for children to learn. Individually, they have their own pros and cons. Consequently, consider your selection based on the information presented above. 

References:

[1] Children skilled in mental abacus show enhanced non-symbolic number sense: Cui J. (2020, April 11) 

[2] Training on Abacus-Based Mental Calculation Enhances Visuospatial Working Memory in Children: Wang C. (2019, August 14) 

[3] Examining the Effect of Abacus Training On Creativity and Self-Efficacy of Fifth-Grade Female Students in Urmia City:  Islamic Azad University, Marand, Iran (Bibak F.) 

[4] An Empirical Study on Role of Vedic Mathematics in Improving the Speed of Basic Mathematical Operations: Srinivas University (Karani K.) (2016, February)

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