How to Use Chisanbop for Counting

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Chisanbop, a Korean method, uses the fingers to do basic arithmetic and counting from zero to 99. The technique is accurate and using it can be faster than using a calculator. Students of all ages can practice chisanbop to reinforce computation and mental math skills. Use the method to count sequentially to get the feel of doing “finger math.”

    Place your hands in front of you on a flat surface with closed fists. This represents zero.

    Each finger on your right hand -- but not your thumb -- represents one. Keeping your left hand in a fist, extend your right index finger and press it down to count to 1.

    Extend your middle finger alongside your index finger and press it down to count to 2.

    Extend and press down your ring and pinky fingers to count to 3 and 4.

    The thumb of your right hand represents 5. Extend it and press it down while lifting all the fingers off the surface.

    Keep your right thumb pressed down and press down your right index finger to count to 6.

    Press down your right middle, ring and pinky fingers to count to 7, 8 and 9.

    Lift your right thumb and fingers off the surface. Extend and press down your left index finger to count to 10. As you count higher, the fingers on your left hand represent 10, 20, 30 and 40. The thumb on your left hand represents 50.

    Keeping your left index finger pressed down, press your right index, middle, ring and pinky fingers down to count to 11, 12, 13 and 14.

    With your left index finger pressed down, press down your right thumb and lift up your right fingers to count to 15.

    Press down your right index, middle, ring and pinky fingers in turn to count to 16, 17, 18 and 19.

    Lift your right fingers and thumb. Extend and press down your left index finger to count to 20.

    Continue in the same way to count up to 99. For example, to represent 86, press down your left thumb and three left-hand fingers to make 80, then press down your right thumb and one right finger for the 6.

References

  • “Fingerology: The Complete Guide to the Fingers”; Hillary J. Kener; 2010

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