Count on your fingers to 99 - the RIGHT way!



How to Count to 99 on Your Fingers

Three Parts:

Many people see counting on your fingers as something you should outgrow quickly, especially since you can supposedly only count up to 10 on them anyway. However, doing more hand counting may actually help further your mathematical understanding, and you can in fact easily count up to 99 by using a simple method known as chisenbop (or chisanbop).Most people figure out chisenbop hand-counting quickly, and from there you can move on to and even multiplying with just your 2 hands!

Steps

Counting to 9 on Your Right Hand

  1. Put your open hands in counting position over a desk or table.Extend both hands in front of you as if you are about to play the piano on your desk or tabletop. Your palms should be facing down, with all 10 fingers extended and your thumbs pointing toward each other. Hold your hands about 1 in (2.5 cm) above the table.
    • You’ll count by pressing combinations of 1 or more fingertips down on the desk or table—once again, almost as if you are playing the piano.
  2. Count by extending fingers from closed fists as a variation.Keeping all 10 fingers extended and tapping the table is the traditional chisenbop style. However, you can also keep your hands closed and extend combinations of 1 or more fingers as you count.
    • PLEASE NOTE: The images in this article demonstrate the closed fist method because it is easier to visualize from overhead images.
  3. Use symbols to reinforce your finger positioning as you learn chisenbop.This way, you can make up flash cards to test yourself, for example. You might use ^ to represent a finger off the table, * to represent a finger on the table, < or > to represent a thumb on the table, and # to represent a thumb on the table.
    • If you symbolically represent your 2 hands and 10 fingers extended in front of you, you'll end up with strings of symbols like the following:
      • ^^^^> <^^^^ represents all 10 fingers off the table (equaling 0)
      • ****# #**** represents all 10 fingers touching the table (equaling 99)
      • ^^^^> <*^^^ represents 1 (with only the right index finger down)
  4. Touch your right index finger to the table.This signifies a count of 1 in every instance. Your right hand is the “ones” column, for counting from 1 to 9. Meanwhile, your left hand will be the “tens” column, counting 10, 20, 30, etc., up to 90.
    • So, since no left hand fingers are touching the table, you have zero “tens.” And, since just your left index finger is touching, you have a single “one”—that is, the number 1.
    • ^^^^> <*^^^ represents 1 (right index finger down)
  5. Press your left index and middle fingertips down to signify 2.The index finger signifies 1, and adding the middle finger signifies 2. Because none of the fingers on your left hand (the “tens” hand) are touching down, you have no “tens” to factor in.
    • ^^^^> <**^^ represents 2 (right index and middle fingers down)
  6. Count to 3 and 4 by putting your right ring finger and pinkie down.To signify 3, touch your right index, middle, and ring fingers down. To signify 4, touch those 3 fingers plus your right pinkie down.
    • ^^^^> <***^ represents 3
    • ^^^^> <**** represents 4
  7. Lift your fingers and touch just your right thumb down to signify 5.This is the first time the chisenbop method may seem a bit tricky to a newcomer. Your thumb signifies 5 all by itself, so you don’t need your other fingers to be touching the table. And, you’ll need those other fingers to count from 6-9 on only your right hand anyway.
    • ^^^^> #^^^^ represents 5 (right thumb down only)
  8. Touch your right thumb and index finger down to indicate 6.When touched down by itself, your index finger equals 1. When combined with your thumb, which equals 5, you get 5 (thumb) + 1 (index finger) = 6.
    • ^^^^> #*^^^ represents 6 (right thumb and index finger down)
  9. Count to 7, 8, and 9 with your other fingers.Continue in the same fashion to count up to 9 using just your right hand. Your thumb, index finger, and middle finger signify 7; your thumb, index finger, middle finger, and ring finger signify 8; and your thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and pinky signify 9.
    • ^^^^> #**^^ represents 7
    • ^^^^> #***^ represents 8
    • ^^^^> #**** represents 9
    • This method will take a little getting used to if you typically count to numbers above 5 by using both hands. But with some practice you’ll pick it up quickly!

Counting by Tens on Your Left Hand

  1. Signify 10 by putting just your left index finger on the table.The fingers on your left hand mirror those of your right hand, except they're in the “tens” category. So, since your right index finger by itself represents 1, your left index finger by itself represents 10.
    • To reiterate—to indicate the number 10, only the index finger on your left hand, and none of the fingers on your right hand, should be touching the table (or extended outward if you’re using the alternate method shown in the images here.)
    • ^^^*> <^^^^ represents 10
  2. Indicate 20, 30, and 40 with your left-hand fingers.Your left index and middle fingers down signals 20; your index, middle, and ring fingers down signals 30; and your index, middle, ring, and pinkie fingers down signals 40.
    • ^^**> <^^^^ represents 20
    • ^***> <^^^^ represents 30
    • ****> <^^^^ represents 40
  3. Show the number 50 with just your left thumb touching down.Just like the right thumb signifies 5 all by itself, the right thumb signifies 50 without the use of the other fingers on your left hand.
    • ^^^^# <^^^^ represents 50
  4. Show 60, 70, 80, and 90 with your left thumb and fingers.With your right thumb remaining down (representing 50), touching your right index, middle, ring, and pinkie fingers down in succession will add 10 each time.
    • ^^^*# <^^^^ represents 60
    • ^^**# <^^^^ represents 70
    • ^***# <^^^^ represents 80
    • ****# <^^^^ represents 90

Using Both Hands at the Same Time

  1. Count 9, 10, 11 to get used to using both hands.Remember that signaling 9 involves touching down all 5 fingers on your right hand, and signaling 10 involves touching down only the index finger on your left hand. To get to 11, remove all fingers from the table, then put down both your left index finger (signaling 10) and your right index finger (signaling 1). Since 10 + 1 = 11, you’ve just signaled 11 with both hands.
    • ^^^^> #**** represents 9
    • ^^^*> <^^^^ represents 10
    • ^^^*> <*^^^ represents 11
  2. Signify 12, 13, and 14 with both hands.To do this, you’ll keep your left index finger down (signaling 10) and your right index finger down (adding 1 to 10 to equal 11). You'll add your right middle finger down to get 12; your right middle and ring fingers down to get 13; and your right middle, ring, and pinkie fingers down to get 14.
    • ^^^*> <**^^ represents 12
    • ^^^*> <***^ represents 13
    • ^^^*> <**** represents 14
  3. Show 15 by using your left index finger and right thumb.Keep your left index finger down to indicate 10, then lift all the fingers on your left hand and touch down your thumb to show 5 (10 + 5 = 15).
    • ^^^*> #^^^^ represents 15
  4. Keep counting from 16 through 19.Keep your left index finger down (10) and your right thumb down (5). Add your right index finger down to get 16; your right index and middle fingers down to get 17; your right index, middle, and ring fingers down to get 18; and your right index, middle, ring, and pinkie fingers down to get 19.
    • ^^^*> #*^^^ represents 16
    • ^^^*> #**^^ represents 17
    • ^^^*> #***^ represents 18
    • ^^^*> #**** represents 19
  5. Show 20 with your left index and middle fingers, then keep counting to 49.Each time you touch down another one of your left fingers (index, middle, ring, and pinkie), you increase the total by 10. Use your right hand to add 1 through 9 more to the “tens” you’re showing with your left hand.
    • ^^**> <^^^^ represents 20
    • ^^**> <*^^^ represents 21
    • ^^**> #^^^ represents 25
    • ^***> <***^ represents 33
    • ^***> #**^^ represents 37
    • ****> #**** represents 49
  6. Indicate 50 with just your left thumb, then go up to 99.Remember that your left thumb alone signals 50. Any left hand fingers you touch down will add 10 more apiece, touching your right thumb down will add 5 more, and touching right fingers down will add 1 more apiece.
    • ^^^^# <^^^^ represents 50
    • ^^^*# <**^^ represents 62
    • ^^**# <**** represents 74
    • ^***# #*^^^ represents 86
    • ****# #***^ represents 98
    • ****# #**** represents 99

Community Q&A

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  • Question
    Are other math problems, like multiplication and division possilbe?
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    Staff Answer
    You can add 2 numbers and multiply 2 numbers by building off of the basic counting principles of the chisenbop method. Check out the Related Articles section for this article for possible examples.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    How do I do addition with this method?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    This is like an abacus (Japanese soroban). The thumb is the heavenly beads, and the fingers are the earthly beads. It'll work as long as the answer is less than 100.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    How do you count triple digit numbers?
    Community Answer
    You cannot. You'd need three hands. There is a very hard way, but it is not recommended as it will mix you up.
    Thanks!
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Quick Summary

To count to 99 on your fingers, make fists and put them on the table. Count by extending your fingers from your closed fists, starting with your right index finger for the count of 1. Lift your remaining right fingers to count up to 4, then touch your right thumb down to signify 5. Then, start over with your right index finger for 6 and count up to 9 with the other fingers. Use the same technique with your left hand, but this time count by tens up to 90 to put it all together!

Did this summary help you?
  • The chisenbop counting method developed in Korea. Some contend it was invented in the 20th Century, while others believe it is an ancient counting method that is still very useful today.
  • Chisenbop is very similar to a method known as soroban, and also to using an abacus (instead of your fingers).

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Date: 12.12.2018, 09:09 / Views: 72582