Mental maths is the ability to perform mathematical calculations in your head without using pen and paper or a calculator. It requires strong memory skills. To retrieve the number combinations and facts requires good long-term memory. Working memory also plays a vital role in tracking the steps needed to solve a particular problem.
If the kids find it difficult to solve problems, it does not mean they are not intelligent. It simply means that everyone’s mental maths capacity is different, and growth can happen at its own pace.
Moreover, if your child or your students find it difficult to solve math problems in their heads, you can use our tips below to help them increase their mental math power.
Benefits of Mental Maths
Mental maths has numerous benefits in our daily life like:
- Stimulates the brain
Practicing mental maths keeps your brain and memory sharp. Moreover, mental math also improves creativity and imagination as you need to search for creative ways to find the solutions.
- Increases self-confidence
If you can easily calculate complex numbers in your mind, your friends and family will look up to you. Thus boosting your self-esteem.
- Improves mental health
A recent study shows that mental maths stimulates a region of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This region is linked to depression and anxiety. Thus, the more active this region is, the better its mental health.
- Numerous applications
You use mental maths daily while calculating the amount of money you need to pay at the shopping counter, and estimating the ingredients for recipes, etc.
Now that you know how mental math can help in daily life let’s move on to some simple and easy techniques to improve your mental math.
Simple Mental Math Strategies for Training Kids
- Estimation Games
The goal of estimation is to judge the nearest possible answer and its correctness. There are many ways to find estimates, like rounding off, compatible numbers, bracketing, and compensation.
Estimation games can open up kids‘ minds to calculating and improving their mental maths.
For example, consider multiplying 14 x 28? At first glance, this may seem difficult, but using estimation, students can round off 14 to 10 and 28 to 30.
In this way, 10 X 30 = 300, so the answer of 4 X 28 would be somewhere near 300. Wasn’t it easy?
- Word Problems
Word problems are easy and can be done mentally. But the challenge with a word problem is to read it carefully and then apply the correct operation to estimate an answer.
For example, take this question: “Each pack of pumpkin seeds costs $6 per packet and each pack of tomato seeds costs $3 per packet.” How much will 3 tomato seeds packets and 5 pumpkin seeds pack cost?”
It is a simple word problem. But students can make mistakes here if they interpret it wrong. The answer to the question would be: 1 tomato pack = $3
1 pumpkin pack = $6.
Then, 3 tomato packs = 3 x $3 = $9
5 pumpkin packs = 5 X $6 = $30
So, adding the total cost of 3 tomato packs and 5 pumpkin packs will cost $39. ($9+$30)
- Multiplication Tricks
Multiplication tricks are popular among mathematicians. This is because they are easy to use and can help solve complex or two or three-digit multiplication in your head.
But before you start with multiplication tricks, you must be familiar with single-digit multiplications like 1x 2, 9×9, and 6×4, etc.
For example, let’s consider 25 X 25
You can solve this by using a square trick. In this trick, if the number ends in 5, simply multiply the digit before the 5 by their succeeding digits.
In this scenario, you would multiply 2 with its succeeding number 3
2X 3 = 6
5 X 5 = 25
So, the end number result should be 625.
Wasn’t that easy?. For more mental maths techniques on multiplication, you can subscribe to our newsletter here. We send out multiple mental math tricks in your inbox every week.
- Double & Half Technique
This is yet another fantastic mental math trick to solve math problems easily. In the double and half technique, you halve the one side of multiplication as long as you double the other side of multiplication.
For example, let’s consider
34 X 5
17 X 10 = 170
4 X 16
8 X 8 = 64
The key to using the double and half strategy is to be able to choose when you can make the problem easier. Some rules include:
- Is the number on the side you need to halve even?
- Is the number on any aide 5? Easy. Doubling it would give 10.
- Does one side include half or 0.5? If so, then doubling it would remove it.
- Use Mental Math Websites & Apps
There are various mental math websites online. Some popular ones include:
- Mental Math Train: This game teaches math vocabulary, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It also includes multiple-choice questions to boost confidence.
- Prodigy game: Prodigy game is an engaging online game for students as they explore mental math. Students can answer the math question and get rewards.
- Hit the button: Hit the button is an interactive game on quick-fire questions including double and half technique, square numbers, and so on.
You can also enroll in Scott Flansburg’s Mental Maths Training program. Scott Flansburg is a Guinness World Record Holder for the Fastest Human Calculator. In addition to that, he has appeared on many popular shows worldwide like the Oprah Winfrey Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, ESPN, and Discovery Channel, etc.
This training guarantees turning you into a human calculator.
How do you practice mental math?
The best way to practice mental math is by playing mental games or using tricks.
What is the difference between mental math and math?
In mental math, you solve questions without using a pen, paper, or calculator. However, in math, you write the solution on paper or use a calculator.
Why do I struggle with mental math?
If you struggle with calculating basic math problems in your head, you might have a learning disability or dyscalculia.
What are the best games for mental math?
Prodigy game and hit the button are some popular websites where you can play and learn mental math.
Mental maths is an essential part of our life. Imagine not being able to calculate how much time is left for class to end or how many ingredients to put into the recipe. That would be a recipe for a huge disaster.
If you find yourself struggling with mental math, don’t worry. You can use the above-listed tricks to help increase your mental math capacity.
Better yet, subscribe to our newsletter to receive free mental math tips in your inbox every week. Also, don’t forget to check out the mental math training courses here.
Let’s get started!!