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Finger Counting Systems ARE Better

August 26, 2015       Curious Mind
Finger Counting
Is Better

Remember Flash Cards when you were learning math?  That must be one of the most harrowing learning experiences for kids who had to actually memorize the multiplication tables of the numbers 2 to 12.  At that time, counting with fingers was discouraged as a less efficient way for learning numbers.

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Multiplication with finger math!  Never taught in schools until now.
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But fast forward today, behavioral and learning researchers studying and rediscovering that age-old cultural counting systems based on finger counting or analog tools for learning math as tactile learning systems are actually more effective in teaching numbers! 

The abacus and finger counting systems are some of the better methods for learning not only arithmetic but multiplication and division.  The finger-counting technique you learned as a child may influence how good your brain is at processing numbers. 
Research studies show that kids with good finger awareness are better at performing quantitative tasks than those with less finger sense.

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The fingers as an indication of any arithmetic or multiplication
process and thinking like an abacus helps anyone run
even complex computations just using your fingers.
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Research proponents of cognition thinking processes offer that we reduce the brain's workload if we use parts of our body to visualize a process or use physical objects like the beads of an abacus.  Check out the video of an Indian teacher below showing how a kid so young can become a human calculator with just finger math.  Looks fun too!

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This kid uses his hands like an abacus and counts faster than
anyone computing with pen and paper.  One of the benefits of
a finger counting system!

Finger counting has one unique property that sets it apart from written or verbal counting systems: it is a sensory-motor experience, with a direct link between bodily movement and brain activity.  MRI scans show that brain regions associated with finger sense are activated when we perform numerical tasks, even if we don't use our fingers to help us complete those tasks.


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