Math Tips - Mental Math

Sep 13, 2020 | Red Deer
It’s too often that students rely on the most familiar way to solve a math problem: algorithm. Simple calculation can be (and should be) solved by using mental math, but unfortunately most kids do not grasp their “number sense” yet, something that is actually a very natural way that is there in their brain, waiting to be nurtured.
For example, when we ask a student (from any age): what is a quarter of 50? Most of the time they would spontaneously grab a paper and solved it using way #1 (see pic).
Then we would ask them: “what is half of 50?” “25”. “What is half of 25?” “12.5” “There you go, you can solve it in a few seconds without paper & pencil”.
Another way is to use a friendly number by thinking in tens, 40 divided by 4 is 10, and 10 divided by 4 is 2.5. Combined together, it makes 12.5.
Kids need to learn to grow their math instinct – it is there, only it has been buried with formulas, algorithms and math memorization. It is our job to give them thread to help them grow naturally.