Sunday, January 11, 2015

Why Learn Mental Math?

Some people think mental math skills are no longer important. After all, we have computers and devices that can do it for us any time we choose. But there's more to it than that! Here are some very important reasons for teaching (and learning) mental math skills.

1.  Teaching mental math encourages kids to really understand how to reason through a problem, not just memorize it. Doing mental math means using conceptual understanding and problem solving. In fact, using mental math strategies often helps kids to really "get it".

2. Being proficient in mental math strategies help students realize when a problem doesn't "look" right. Students are thinking about the problem (mind's on) throughout the entire process rather than relying on a formula of some kind.

4.  More and more schools are placing a high priority on problem solving in math. Mental math gives the tools for problem solving, and helps students evaluate their answers.

5. Doing mental math in a classroom discussion helps students orally talk about math concepts and how they are using them. They develop not only mathmatical concepts, but the math vocabulary they must know to solve the problem.

6. It gives students lots of practice with basic facts and combining operations.

7. By using mental math, students play with the patterns that exist in our number system. As a result, they develop a deeper conceptual understanding.

8. Kids love the "tricks" involved in figuring out mental math problems. It's fun because they know a lot of people who can't do it.  Give kids a good strategy for mental math, and they feel like they are able to do mathmatical magic!

9. My favorite reason….They have to think!

If you need a set of games made just to sharpen those mental math strategies, try out these games from Top Marks…all are free and perfect for centers/stations! The game shown sharpens addition mental math skills. Others include a variety of math skills.

How about a great freebie to help with those mental math strategies? I have made 12 Math Thinker task cards complete with an answer sheet and a grading key. This makes this free resource perfect for centers! Click on the link below the pictures for your freebie!

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