“I am not smarter than a fifth grader!”

I confess “I am not smarter than a fifth grader.”

A year ago, my aunt enrolled her little kids into a program called “Intelligence Mental-Arithmetic.” It is an educational program that aims to develop the mental abilities of little children from 4-12 years old by using “abacus” in dealing with mathematical equations. I always heard my aunt, my other aunt, and my other other aunt praising this program, but I never believed until I saw with my own eyes.


Two days ago, there was an honoring celebration for all the children in this program in al-Shalihat resort in Gaza. The celebration was interesting and there were a lot of performances done by little children like Dabkka, dancing, singing, poetry reciting and more.


What blew me away was a challenge game. They put two movable boards on the stage with 7 mathematical equations written on them then called for two 10 year-old children to answer the equations on the board using their minds. It was amazing how 10 year olds were able to answer the questions in less than 3 minutes. They did the same with other children but this time 8 year olds.


Another dazzling game was that they brought 5 children on stage, boys and girls and then started asking them long cumulative math equations. At first I thought they would be asking them something like “88+5+3-2or something, but I was shocked when I heard the lady asking “How much does 44+5+75-12+56+90-3+82+32-10+45+73 equal!”, and they instantly answered! They just “imagined” the equation then answered. The most remarkable kid of all the group was a little boy called “Louae” he had all the audiences clapping and cheering. I never felt so ignorant, so little and even so stupid and mentally challenged in my life! I mean, when my friends and I go to a restaurant and the recite comes, we all use calculators! But those little things answered that long Oh My God equation just like that! 

Knowing that we have all these little Megaminds in Gaza, proud is simply how it makes me feel.

2 responses to ““I am not smarter than a fifth grader!”

  • stace8383

    It is astonishing what they can do once they’re used to using an abacus! It shouldn’t be too surprising, though – an abacus is a very visual way of doing calculations, so as long as you can see it in your mind’s eye, you can “use” that imagined tool just as you would use a real one. I think that if abacus use had been encouraged in my school, I might have actually done alright in maths classes – instead of doing miserably. haha

  • Ghadeer J. Shabana

    proud to be Palestinian! ashamed to be not as smart as a fifth grader, though! NOT EVEN CLOSE…LOL

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