Mental math is the practice of performing math calculations in ones head without the use of tools such as calculators, pen and paper, or an abacus. The ability to work out sums with just the use of your mind is an important ability that primary school kids need to have. They develop this ability through key stages.
Concept of Mental Math
The concept of mental math is that your child should be able to give an answer to a math problem by just thinking about it instead of working it out on paper. In school, mental math skills also include the ability to truly understand complex math concepts and the knowledge to solve math problems in a methodical and logical way.
There are stages to developing a childs mental math ability. These stages teach your children to understand math problems and be able to solve them using confidence and logical thinking. There are exercises that are used to develop this ability. These exercises build the students mental agility and mathematical knowledge while focusing on shapes, numbers, time and measures.
The basics are covered during the first stage. Then as the childs ability progresses, he moves on to more advanced stages where algebra and geometry are taught. Children are even taught to compete with calculators among other exercises.
Mental Math and SATs
During the SATs, children will need to use mental math to solve problems in the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. KS2 has been replaced with an arithmetic paper so there is no formal KS2 Section in the SATs.
Other than mathematical problems in the classrooms, mental math also helps you to solve realistic, everyday problems such as:
Shopping (figuring out sale prices and adding tax)
Calculating a tip
Using foreign currency (Currency conversion)
Cooking (To use proportional thinking to alter the recipe)
Converting Units (miles to kilometers, or ounces to pounds etc.)
Comparing price values of goods and services
Figuring out a grade or a score.
Mental math gives us the ability to think on our feet by keeping our minds sharp and quick. Just like our bodily muscles, the brain is a muscle that gets stronger with use. Other than that, mental math gives us the ability to understand the relationships between quantities by improving our number sense.
By taking all this into consideration, you can see that by introducing your child to mental math at an early age will help him become good in mathematics. The child learns to add, multiply, subtract and divide with just the use of his mind. Creating an interest in mental math is important.
Benefits of Mental Math
1. Increased Level of Alertness
The child will become more alert in their daily lives. They will develop a high problem-solving capability both in school and at home.
2. Sharp Memory
Doing mental math improves and enhances your childs mental power. It helps enhance his memory for other things like daily activities and other subjects. It also helps with concentration both in the classroom and outside.
3. Increased Observance
The child will become more observant of his surroundings. It will also boost confidence and self-esteem. Mental math will help them overcome any mathematical fear that they might have.
Parents and caretakers should remember that practice makes perfect.