Recent policy initiatives require schools to pay greater attention to mental calculation in mathematics. This study proposed the use of a soroban, or Japanese abacus, as a means of developing number sense and strengthening student understanding of number concepts. There is evidence that ‘expert’ soroban users have enhanced mental calculation abilities.
The project investigated likely benefits for ‘novice’ users. An intervention and control model was used. It was anticipated that using traditional technology of the soroban in an innovative and clearly structured way in the classroom may enhance the learning process and ultimately develop the intervention student’s ability to calculate mentally. It was also anticipated that exposing students to the Japanese abacus would enhance awareness of the contributions made by other cultures.
- Strategies for mental calculation', Macintyre T and Forrester R, Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning MathematicsArticle_STRATEGIES20FOR20MENTAL20CALCULATION_2003.pdf233.54KB 01 June 03
- Using the SOROBAN to develop strategies for mental calculation. Final reportFinal20report_Macintyre1.pdf190.68KB 01 July 04
- The Soroban: Alternative Representation of Numberposter1.pdf694.28KB 04 July 04
- The Soroban and Mental Calculationposter2.pdf363.35KB 04 July 04
- The Soroban: What Place in the Mathematics Classroom?poster11.pdf694.28KB 04 July 04
- Dr Thomas MacintyreUniversity of Edinburgh
- Director, EducationNuffield Foundation