Maths need not be hard, and Peru's Incas knew that

LIMA,PERÚ-AGOSTO-17. Yupana Inca. Foto: ANDINA/Dante Zegarra.

LIMA,PERÚ-AGOSTO-17. Yupana Inca. Foto: ANDINA/Dante Zegarra.

12:54 | Lima, Aug. 18.

Mathematics has long been a source of struggles for both confused pupils and teachers striving to find a more student-friendly approach to the much-dreaded subject.

If only somebody came up with a way to perform —and to teach how to perform— maths operations minus all the hassle. 

Cusco-born systems engineer Dhavit Prem has done just that. He teaches a playful way to use the Inca Yupana (abacus) with the Tawa Pukllay, a four-game basic arithmetic method born in the same brilliant minds behind engineering feats like majestic Machu Picchu

The Inca device can be found in the chronicles of Peruvian commentator Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, dating back to viceroyalty times.

In statements to Andina news agency, Prem explained the key feature differentiating the Tawa Pukllay from other math methods lies in the approach: it is based on shapes and movements rather than formulas. 

"You can do all sorts of calculations without thinking about numbers, just by writing and reading. But then you also play, recognizing shapes, making things simpler and getting the results," the engineer affirmed. 

The method has proved efficient with a variety of people ranging from students with dyscalculia (math learning difficulty) to blind learners. 

"Concentration need not be all serious. On the contrary, playfulness facilitates faster learning," he assured. 

The engineer and his team now aim to spread this knowledge across the Inca country.

"We have produced three modules and we can even solve a complex subtraction with several minuends and subtrahends at a time. A 4-year-old child can learn multiplication playing," he concluded. 


Published: 8/18/2017
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