Chinese New Year

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This year, we welcomed the Year of the Rooster (January 28) with a student performance at Barnard Elementary School. Our team of talented kids showcased their Abacus skills onstage by solving complicated math equations without pencil or paper – not your typical form of entertainment, which goes to show that mental math is as amazing to watch as it is to learn.

The Abacus, or “counting frame”, is believed to be the original calculator, dating back centuries to civilizations across Asia and Mesopotamia. When hunters needed to keep track of their game, they would stack wooden beads on sticks. Now, the modern “counting frame” uses wooden beads to represent numbers and the wooden rods to represent decimals. With this seemingly simple device, students learn to calculate mathematical problems mentally.

Chinese New Year, based on the Gregorian calendar, traditionally marked the transition from winter to spring, from rest to another season of farming and harvesting. With the modernization of the last century, this tradition has shifted to signify the start of another successful year of business.

This year is special in that it is a Fire Rooster Year, which only comes around once every six decades. Overall, a rooster year is likely to be one of boldness, diligence, and entertainment.