I’ve been asked for some ideas about mental maths and this got me really thinking about the range of abilities I’ve encountered and also how a students’ confidence is affected when they aren’t as quick doing “sums” than others in the group. You will be pleased to hear I’ve come to a conclusion (I don’t have a panacea though!) … the ability to do maths “mentally” is important and not a “side dish” to normal maths. OK so it’s not ground-breaking or revolutionary, but I’d never really considered it as a separate part of maths, its just something that I do occasionally. It is integral and something that needs to be practised, and not everyone will develop rapid fire skills. I know that I need to focus on breaking the perception that mental maths is all about doing sums really quickly … it isn’t!
Anyway I’ve put together 30 mental maths questions that can be used either as settlers on the board when students come in, or I would probably read the questions out when I started to use them to get the students used to the context. This way I can also “wing it” and make questions up on the spot but still have some kind of structure to them. The wordiness can also be a barrier to some students, but we can’t not do (is that a double negative? #confuseddotcom) wordy questions for this reason, which is also a good reason to read the questions initially, and then slowly introduce them to the written versions.
Here is the powerpoint, and I’ve shown a few of the questions below: Maths that’s Mental