Whatever happened to Chismbop?

I remember reading about it years ago. Seemed like this miracle method for doing math using your fingers sort of like an abacus. Did it work? Where are all the kids who learned it? Do they still use it?

I googled it but didn’t find anything I didn’t already know, which isn’t much.

I haven’t heard of Chismbop in two decades!

My highschool required that all Advanced Placement Program students would learn it, but I doubt if I could remember how to do the simplest calculations, now (I was never very good at it).

It worked just fine for those who really wanted to learn it, and it was faster than a calculator, too. Problem is, it wasn’t really helpful for, say, extracting square roots and the like. Cheap, readily available calculators pretty much put ‘paid’ to Chismbop.

I’m not sure what the correct spelling is, but “chisenbop” and “chisanbop” yield more hits on Google than chismbop.

Jeez, they taught it to us in 3d grade (this was 1982-3 or so) but all I remember is how to count, which is actually very useful for me as I calculate badly-- if I need to count things in my head by type, say, I can list them by name (“Van Eyck, van der Weyden, Matsys. . .”) and “count” without thinking of the numbers and look at my hands afterward and see how many things I named (and unlike counting fingers I can go above 10. . .). Yes, basic, but hell. I’m an idiot. I’d like to re-learn to do calculations, though.

I saw it on tv once when I was little. I still use it for counting or for remembering a number while I walk from one place to another/things like that. It’s useful enough these days.

Ok, I give. Looked around on google. . . can only find how to do add/subtract and links to books I can purchase. So:

Does anyone of SD remember how to DIVIDE using chisenbop? This would improve my quality of life. . .

And looking at the links I suddenly realize that I was BAD at math. All the references to teaching kids who don’t understand math to normal levels being taught math via chisenbop and cuisinaire rods. . that was me.

I work part-time as a bartender. I’m a math dunce. I can add lots of drinks together, but it would be cool to add the drinks plus food plus California tax on the food before havng to add it all up on the cash register.

Google, with the CORRECT spelling, only reveals one simple tutorial. I’m sure there must be more to it. Why is it so dead? We don’t all walk around with calculators on our watches.

one reason it’s severely limited is that it’s only good for integers, and it only works up to 99. I, on the other hand, can count in binary on my fingers, so I can go up to 1023. :slight_smile: (haven’t learned to do arithmetic, though…that would be cool)

Probably the same thing that happened to Ubbi-Dubbi.

Never heard of it before this thread, but a looooong tutorial including multiplication and division can be found here


Hey, thanks, Fenris. I’d found something on that server but it much more basic.