Project Abacus USA

Heritage & China Project: Abacus Program

Heritage has developed a abacus program that can prepare American students (any students anywhere in the world) to develop incredible mental calculation skills for mathematics and also enhances the overall learning process because it harnesses the right hemisphere along with the left to make this possible.  Please watch the video.

abacus image

Abacus Parts: The various parts of the abacus are identified here: the frame, the beam, the beads and rods and the upper and lower decks.

Dr. Jess G. Nieto

Executive Director

Heritage of America Educational & Cultural Foundation

1004 H Street Suite F

Bakersfield, CA. 93304

661-325-5098   FAX 661- 322-3212

 Project Abacus USA

Name of Program: Project Abacus USA

History & Background: The use of the abacus goes back historically many years and its development can be broken down into three ages: Ancient times, Middle Ages, and Modern Times.  There are records that the Greeks and the Romans used the abacus as early as 500 B.C.  The Chinese began using the abacus about 1200 A.D., and today it is called the suan pan.  Schools in China have been successfully using this fascinating learning tool in the 20th century all across this huge nation teaching it to millions of students.

A little over a decade ago, we at Heritage of America began to see its usage in a number of kindergarten schools in China, and specifically, in Tianjin City at the Nankai Educational District.  After a number of observations by U.S. educators who traveled to China under the auspices of Heritage of America, a decision was made by our agency  in collaboration with the Superintendent of the Beardsley School District, Ken Chapman,  to develop an abacus program that would teach American teachers the use of this instrument.  It was felt that the implications of the abacus not only applied to developing mental calculation skills in mathematics, but it also had profound implications  to the overall impact it has on the learning process.

It is widely accepted that 80% of the world’s people have a more developed left side of the brain.  It is also known that the right side of the brain has a “high speed, high capacity memory” mechanism that is rarely taught or learned.

The left side of the brain is involved with the following:

The right side of the brain is involved with the following:

Objectives of the Abacus Program:  Several objectives of this program include the following:

(1) To teach the theory, application, and techniques of the abacus to American teachers and educators, and to produce a video on the abacus as an introduction to teachers, administrators, and students;

(2) To collaborate with Chinese teachers and trainers in the use of the abacus for the purpose of conducting a series of workshops to American teachers and educators;

(3) To invite select local school districts to participate in this program and to have these districts select a number of their teachers to participate;

(4) To have the school districts and their teachers exposed to this program consider implementing this program in their schools; and

(5) To set-up a pilot program whereby American teachers teach their kindergarten and first grade students the use of the abacus, and consider its usage in latter grades;

(6) To develop a measurement and evaluation process to assess the overall accomplishment and achievement of the program, particularly in the students.  This should involve two sets of students: those who use the abacus and those who do not.

(7) To secure funding to make theses objectives possible.

(8) To implement the program at a wider level.

Why Is This Program Important?

(A) This program has a great deal of value because it allows young children, as young as four years of age, to develop and acquire incredible mental calculation abilities, and skills that can be the basis for a strong mathematical foundation.  The abacus has also been found through extensive research that it has the power to harness the left and right sides of the brain that have profound consequences for the learning process in other academic areas as well.

(B)  According to the TMSS Study (Third International Math & Science Study), the United States as a whole is not doing well, comparatively, when it comes to math and science across the world.  Our U.S. students are scoring in the lower 1/3 in the math testing and in the lower ½ of the science testing.  Mainstream, Anglo students do not do well in math and science across the country as compared to other students internationally, and our “minority” students do even worse. 

We need to compete internationally in our educational mission of educating our students, and we need to adopt methods that can improve the academic performance of our students. 

When Does the Abacus Program Begin?

Training: Phase One: The program has actually already begun.  After a series of American educators visited Chinese schools in the last decade, a decision was made at Heritage to develop a specific program of training American teachers in the use of the abacus.  Heritage  of America developed and funded through private funds (Heritage contributed $20,000)  a 10 day training session in November 2005 for the Beardsley School District in Bakersfield and other educators from the Lamont School District and the McFarland Unified School District. The Nankai Educational School District made it possible to send six world known experts/teachers on the use of the abacus to Bakersfield.

Training: Phase Two:  Plans are being made to take another group of American educators to travel  to China to observe the use of the abacus.  A trip in 2009 is being planned.

Training: Phase Three: Heritage wishes to bring another team of Chinese educators to conduct more training sessions to include not only addition and subtraction, but also multiplication and division.  It is planned to bring this team to Bakersfield in the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009.  Additional arrangements can be made to invite this Chinese group of educators to travel to other school districts to make training presentations.

Production of Documentary:  A documentary (an introductory training video) is being produced to show how students use the abacus in China kindergarten and elementary school classrooms. Footage has been shot in China, and footage was also obtained when the Chinese teachers conducted training sessions for American teachers in November 2005.  Additional footage is still needed. This documentary will be used with American educators to have them understand the use of the abacus.  Funding is sought to complete the documentary.

Expansion of the Abacus Program:  It is hoped that the use of the abacus will expand to American school districts as a means to improve mathematical mental calculation skills.


Heritage of America has paid for all expenses on the abacus program up to this point.  However, funding is sought for (1) the completion of the documentary, and (2) for the continuation of training programs for American educators and to pay for the transportation, housing, and meals of the Chinese educators while they are here conducting their training sessions.   Any compensation of the U.S. teachers for attending this program would have to be considered by the district and or school.

Anyone or any organization interested in the program and in providing funds for the completion of the film, please contact us.


Documentary completion: $25,000

Training: $20,000 for a two week training session. (Heritage of America contributed this amount in 2005 for a two week training program.)

For further information contact:

Dr. Jess G. Nieto

Project Abacus USA

Executive Director 

Heritage of America Educational & Cultural Foundation

1004 H Street Suite F

Bakersfield, CA 93304

661-325-5098     FAX 661-322-3212   email

Video phone:  (661) 578-6033

Can you add and subtract the following numbers in your head:

Add           361

Subtract   624

Add            4,958

Subtract   861

Add            194

Add            325

Add            201

Add            9,047

Add            836

Add            705

Subtract   934

Add            687

Subtract   2,319

Add            703

Subtract   5,870

Answer ? (A Chinese kindergarten student can calculate the answer mentally faster than an adult with a modern calculator.)

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