My students LOVE practicing their mental math skills, especially while walking down the hall, or waiting for PE to start. Some of their favorites include adding 11s, subtracting multiples of 10, and regrouping tens and ones. The beauty of these mental math exercises is that we can seamlessly differentiate the math and the numbers to be sure all of our students are successfully challenged.
~ Kate Bonsignore, Grade 2 Teacher, Weston Public Schools, Weston, MA
Mental Math exercises are whole class, lively, brief, and focus on skills practice to build students’ computational fluency. These exercises are done orally with children responding aloud.
Mental Math exercises:
- Build students’ computational fluency and math facts quickly
- Work students’ executive function skills (specifically working memory which is related to overall math achievement)
- Develop algebraic habits of mind and explicitly use properties of operations strategically to help students’ fluency
Mental Math exercises are very short and highly focused drills, spaced out over time—a few minutes a day rather than aggregated into a single lesson. Each exercise is intended to be lively, with no instruction “wrapped around” it – and because the exercises are focused, not random, children build ways of thinking about computation as well as fluency with the facts.
Mental Math exercises are designed to be used flexibly. Teachers may search by grade level(s) and then by topic(s) to choose exercises that best meet their students’ needs. Children, in turn, enjoy the energy, pace, and the competence they gain!
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