Why Your Child Should Practice Mental Math

As a parent, you want your child to excel in school. You may not realize it, but one of the best ways to help them improve their math grades is to encourage them to practice mental math. Mental math is simply solving math problems in their head without needing paper and a pencil. By using mental math practices, children can understand mathematics better. Here are three reasons why your child should practice mental math.

Greater Understanding

Many math learning techniques can help children with mathematics, but understanding how to do math mentally is one of the top practices to help children succeed in their future. When children can solve problems mentally, they are forced to think about the mathematical principles involved in the problem. This helps them to develop a deeper understanding of the concept. 

For example, when adding two numbers mentally, children must understand that they are combining two groups of objects and that the answer will be the total number of objects in both groups. This understanding is critical for more complex concepts such as multiplication and division.

Become Better Problem-Solvers

Mental math requires children to find creative ways to solve problems. For example, when confronted with a difficult division problem, children may have to think of creative ways to break down the problem into smaller pieces that they can then solve mentally. 

By working through a problem mentally, children can see how the various parts of a problem fit together. This deep understanding will allow them to tackle more complicated problems in the future and will serve them well in all areas of their lives, not just mathematics.

Improve Memory And Concentration

Mental math requires children to remember mathematical principles and formulas while also concentrating on the problem at hand. This focus and concentration will help them remember information better and improve their ability to concentrate on tasks for extended periods of time. All of these skills are important not just for school but for life in general. 

The Research Behind Mental Math

Mental math has been recognized through various studies as a way to help children get a better understanding of mathematics. One such study was published in the journal Cogent Education which analyzed 118 students in grade 5, exploring how mental computation and mathematical reasoning affect each other.

Researchers found a significant positive correlation between mental computation and mathematical reasoning. It was noted that rather than exposing students to familiar math problems, students need to be encouraged to do mental computing on non-routine problems in order to develop their skills. 

Another interesting study from Duke University looked at mental math from a health perspective. All participants in the study had brain scans done after performing mental math. It was found that mental math engages the brain’s prefrontal cortex which has been linked to better emotional health. 

Practicing Mental Math

Practicing mental math with your child is an easy and effective way of learning. When a child is taught rounding, estimating and fact fluency, as well as having them remember and reproduce steps and solutions, they are performing mental math. So, you may already be practicing mental math with your child and not even realize it!

If you are having trouble getting your child motivated to practice mental math, the key may be to make it fun. For example, math problems based on real-life situations can engage students by providing clear, tangible ways to apply knowledge. 

A great way to involve your child and use their mental math skills is by taking them to the grocery store. There are multiple ways they can test their mental math skills by calculating discounts on products, estimating the weight of fruits and vegetables, and even calculating how much meat it will take to feed the family dinner. Not only will your child find the lesson more interesting, but they will understand why it is worth knowing. 

A Valuable Skill

Mental math is a valuable skill that all children should learn. It has been proven to help children better understand mathematical concepts, become better problem-solvers, and improve memory and concentration skills. So encourage your child to put away the calculator and start practicing mental math today!

Mental Math At Dropkick Math Academy

At Dropkick Math, we are an alternative to an online math tutor as we don’t just address the child’s issues at the time. Our certified Ontario teachers get to the root of the misunderstanding and help fill in any educational gaps a child may be experiencing. Part of our curriculum identifies the importance of practicing mental math, and our teachers encourage their students to use mental math skills.

Our programs offer a fun and engaging way of learning, which has been proven to keep children interested and wanting to learn more. By focusing on the four pillars of math (number sense, operational sense, proportional reasoning, and algebraic reasoning) our students learn the fundamentals of mathematics and build upon their knowledge. 

Dropkick Math Academy offers math programs in Toronto and the surrounding areas. All of our programs offer small-group virtual programming taught by certified Ontario teachers. This allows your child to learn in a comfortable and familiar setting while receiving the individualized attention they need to succeed. Learn more about our programs today!

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