Fb. In. Tw. Be.

About Us            Advertise            Contact Us

26 Nov, Saturday
0° C
Image Alt

Montreal Families

Math program helps kids calculate quickly

When Eric Rajapaska was in Grade 3, math was a challenge. But after four years of attending the Universal Concept of Mental Arithmetic Systems (UCMAS) tutoring program, Eric can add, subtract, multiply and divide long and complex equations without a calculator in just mere seconds.

Founded in Malaysia more than 20 years ago, the math program is centered on the use of the abacus as the main tool for mental math calculations. The abacus, also known as a counting frame, has been used for thousands of years and is a way of representing numbers in the form of images; the tool is made up of rows of beads, bars and rods.

With nearly 70 locations across North America, the program has been available in Canada since 2004. Eric first heard of the program through his cousin who also attended one of the five UCMAS centres in the greater Montreal area.

The idea behind utilizing the abacus technique is to get students solving long arithmetic calculations using both the left and right side of the brain, says Megha Karia, CEO for UCMAS North America. Research has shown that the left side of the brain helps deal with more logical and systematic problems, she says, while the right side of the brain is associated with creativity. Because working with the abacus combines both, it helps increase focus and concentration.

The program is geared towards kids ages 4 to 13 since the brain absorbs information much faster during these developmental years. Classes take place once a week for two hours over four to five months. Students practice calculations using textbooks, flashcards, problem-solving and auditory calculations.

To put student knowledge to the test, UCMAS holds annual provincial, national and international competitions where participants attempt to solve more than 100 equations in under 10 minutes. Having devoted countless hours to studying and solving problems, Eric,12, says he was very proud to have won a trophy at the provincial level and although he has graduated from the program, he returns once a week to help younger students.

For more information, visit ucmas.ca

You don't have permission to register