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UCMAS Mental Math is based on Chinese Zhusuan methodolgy.

Historical Development of 'Zhusuan':
The calculation tool called Zhusuan has a very old history by itself. From around BC 3,000 ~ BC 2,000 in the Mesopotamia Area (now Iraq), it was said that lines were marked on sand and little rocks were used for calculation. Subsequently a calculation tool that is known as the 'line Zhusuan' was made in ancient Greek, and the Romans also made 'Groove Zhusuan' which they used for calculation.

It is said that these tools were introduced in China but there are many different theories on how calculation tools spread through the world. From around BC 770 ~ BC 476, China used 'Suanchou' for calculation. And, the oldest record of a calculation instrument similar to the Zhusuan can be seen in document dated AD 200. Principles of Algorithm, is the first bead-calculation book in China, written by Wang Wensu, an expert in bead calculation of the Ming Dynasty. According to the document, the first Zhusuan introduced to Japan from China was in the 16th century.

While studying the tool for 400 years, Japan has improved and revolutionized the Soroban (Abacus) to what we use today. In the recent years, the modernized Zhusuan has been introduced back to China where it is actively in use. Not to mention, Zhusuan is also commonly used in other countries such as Korea, Taiwan, United States and Brazil. Zhusuan is practical, useful in solving mathematical problems and especially is very handy in teaching the concept of number to children in lower grades.

Importance of Zhusuan Education:
Children all across the globe have a tendency of disliking or fearing math. The basics of life are made from calculation. Children who dislike calculation may not necessarily become the failure of life, but they do tend to have difficulties in life and might result in a delay in the development of the brain functions relative to calculation. It may fairly be said that improvement of calculation skills like Zhusuan provide core foundation of human education in following areas:
  • Improvement of Mathematical Sense
    By teaching Zhusuan to children, especially at the age of 4 ~ 12, they improve their use of the four arithmetic rules by twice in speed once they obtain this ability.

    The most remarkable quality of having Zhusuan Education is that one can calculate simple numbers by Mental Arithmetic 'calculating without using any tools'. Currently in China, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Japan people can calculate up to 10 digits all in their head.

    At present, we are living in the so called 'computer era'. Of course, computers are faster than Zhusuan if it is simple calculation of numbers, that is, only if the computer is programmed properly. But the fact is that people are the one that operate computers. In Japan, they have verified that people without mathematical sense are more likely to make input mistakes. People who operate computers need the ability to catch numbers and words accurately and with speed. The best way to improve that ability would come from Zhusuan Education.

  • Zhusuan Education Value
    Zhusuan bailey tests have been divided into 20 different ranks. Those with higher than 15th rank 'counting from the bottom' have constantly maintained higher grades in Japanese high schools. These results are due to the fact that Zhusuan Education has deeply effected the activation and development of the human brain. Though it is unclear whether human brain has developed only after Zhusuan Education or a hereditary 'good brain' has improved due to Zhusuan Education. Schools and Universities involved in psychology, cerebral studies, and Zhusuan study have been researching this topic at this time.

  • Effects of Zhusuan Education on Human Brain
    Cerebral studies have made remarkable progress in recent years. Professor Toshiro Hayashi of Kyoto University, who is a representative scholar in this study, has reported the following issue titled 'The Human Brain and the Zhusuan'. The nerve tissue of the sense nerve, which controls the movement of the fingers, has been found to be very abundant, which means the movements of fingers when using Zhusuan requires many nerve tissues to move simultaneously. Furthermore, these movements of fingers especially thumb and index finger required greater skills compared to playing a piano. With this reference, it can be said that Zhusuan education is a necessary step in basic human education. Its educational value to the children is vital to the human brain formation.