Are you ready to take your child’s math skills to the next level? Unlocking the power of mental math can give them a competitive edge, allowing them to solve problems quickly and accurately. Mental mathematics improves problem-solving ability and cultivates practical thinking abilities that will serve children in myriad ways throughout their lives.
Equipping your child with this valuable skill gives them an advantage for success both now and in future years. Keep reading to learn more about how parents can empower learners through mental mathematics!
What Is Mental Math?
Mental math is a type of mental calculation which entails completing mathematical computations using cognitive processes, as opposed to the traditional approach of writing down equations and working them out with pencil and paper. It involves memorizing facts, recalling numerical relationships and understanding the principles behind calculations. In short, it is doing math in your head without using a pencil and paper or a calculator.
Mental math encompasses simple arithmetic sums, such as addition or subtraction, all the way to problems of more advanced complexity. It includes various mental strategies for finding solutions quickly by employing a variety of mental cues and approaches. People who are proficient at mental math can often do complex mental calculations faster than those who rely on mechanical methods, even though both yield the same result.
How Is Mental Math Used In Everyday Life
While the idea of mental math may cause some to run away in a fit of anxiety, you may be surprised to learn that we use it in everyday life. Anytime math seems scary, it can be helpful to point out how we already use it without even realizing it.
For example, if your child is anxious about mental math, help them see how they use it daily. Mental math is used in situations such as computing the sale price for an item at a store. Or for working out whether they have enough money to buy something from a store. They also use mental math to ensure they get the correct change from the cashier or even to figure out when they need to leave the house to get to school on time.
Once children (and some parents!) understand that mental math doesn’t have to be scary, it can help them to understand math concepts better. Practicing mental math regularly can help children improve their number sense.
To help your child practice their mental math, try giving examples of real-life situations for them to work out without using a pencil, paper, or calculator. For example:
Which is a better deal?
Purchasing a box of 10 packs of gum for $18.00 or buying individual packages for $2.25 each? Help them see that by using mental math, they can quickly estimate that the 10-pack must cost less than $2.00 per package because 10 x 2 = 20. Explain how this is a better deal because, individually, the packages cost more than $2.00.
Getting To The Answer Quickly
Some children may like to hear that mental math can actually get to the answer more quickly. Breaking down numbers into values makes it easier for some children to understand complex equations.
For example, ask your child:
What is 48 + 66?
Explain to your child that these large numbers may seem daunting at first, but breaking them down can help. It is easier to do in their head if they start by adding 40 + 60 = 100 and then 8 + 6 = 14. They can then add those two numbers together to get the answer of 114.
With Dropkick Math tutoring, we understand that mental math is an essential skill that needs to be practiced, as repetition is vital. Children need to repeat their multiplication tables and be able to use other data for mathematical computation.
To learn mental math at home, flashcards can be an excellent learning aid. Brain teasers can also be a clever way to help your child understand how numbers work. Puzzles and riddles such as Sudoku and crosswords can help to improve their mental math ability while providing a fun and engaging activity.
If all of this is enough to give you, the parent, nightmares, don’t worry. At Dropkick Math Academy, we believe in educating parents and children together. We want parents to learn alongside their children so you are better equipped to help them when they come to you for help with their homework. Working together can help instill confidence and a passion for learning in your child.
Memory Skills Required
Mental math requires excellent memory skills as math facts and other number concepts must be retrieved from long-term memory. The brain also uses working memory during mental math, which helps keep track of the steps needed to solve a particular problem.
At this point, you may be wondering why it is important for children to learn mental math since, in this day and age, we all have a calculator handy on our smartphones. Mental math is vital to a child’s development because it helps to stimulate the brain. Math skills exercise the left brain, while mental math can help stimulate the right side. This helps your child grow their creativity. And as an added bonus, as mentioned above, it can also help give their memory a workout.
Many online activities can help your child practice their mental math skills. Here at Dropkick Math Academy, we teach children mental math strategies for faster calculations. Our virtual programs can engage your child and help to improve their mental math abilities, so they have the foundation needed for future mathematical success.
If your child is struggling with mental math, it doesn’t mean they are not smart. Children all develop mental math skills at their own pace and may just need more time and practice to catch up. Our certified Ontario teachers understand how children learn and can offer personalized learning thanks to our small class sizes. Our math tutoring programs provide a unique way for students to learn math fundamentals and have fun doing it!
Learn more about our programs and how we use game-based learning to make math fun and engaging for your child.