Mental Math exercises are lively, brief, highly focused, and daily.
They are strategically selected to
Because the exercises are focused, not random, students build ways of thinking about computation as well as fluency with the facts, and gain competence very rapidly. These exercises are intended to be lively, with no instruction “wrapped around” them, and students typically enjoy the pace and the competence they gain.
(Mental Math is called “Skills Practice & Review” in the Think Math! curriculum.)
At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher tells students what the exercise is. For example:
After the introduction, keep words to a minimum. Give a number as a “prompt.” Students answer with a number. That’s it! No more words than that! Reducing the words to pay attention to actually increases the attention focused on the mathematical pattern.
Often these are done orally with the whole class.
Sometimes physically active engagement will be suggested. For example:
Varying the style occasionally keeps the activity feeling fresh.