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How to Excel at Mental Maths

Mathematics is a subject from which many shy away. It is interesting though to note that those who perform well at it find it easy. This is because they employ certain tactics, knowingly or unknowingly, that make maths easy. Knowing these tactics will help you improve your general mathematics skills and your speed in doing mental maths.

Memorizing

    This is one of the oldest methods used in mathematics. It would involve learning addition, multiplication and even division tables by rote. It is successful to the extent that it gives all students a solid foundation in making simple calculations.

    It is also on this method that many of the other techniques are founded. Some children also discover patterns from it and use them to form their own shortcuts.

    Abacus

      This is a method used in some schools in early years’ classes. It focuses on the use of visual aids to perform simple calculations. Over time, the aid used gets ingrained in the brains of users.

      The Abacus itself is a wooden frame with wires joined to its ends. On these wires, there are beads used to represent numbers. The use of it motivates the brain to ‘construct’ a similar tool of its own and use it for rapid mental maths calculations.

      General Rules

        This is one of the most effective methods and it relies on establishing patterns and using them to generate quick results. Its main advantage is that one can establish his own rules and use them. It is easier however to follow the ones available both online and in texts.

        They start with very simple facts for young students but also contain secrets to bigger math problems.

        Vedic

          This method has its origin in India and is by far the most convenient. This is because learning high speed Vedic maths will enable one to do all sorts of calculations, basic and advanced, mentally.

          It contains 16 formulae that should not be difficult to master for the average student. It offers a holistic approach to mental maths that can help in fighting the phobia many students have towards the subject.

          The secret to excellence in mental maths therefore, is to learn one or two of these simple methods and use them in everyday calculations. This will help you master them and will serve to improve both the speed and accuracy with which you perform mathematical calculations.

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          Mental Math for the Middle Grades

          While most students consider mental math a tiring and difficult task, it is an important aspect of learning. Mental math applies in almost all areas of daily life. For this reason, it is important for them to learn the basics at an early age. It is advisable to start with simple exercises and as they age and become good at these, the equations can then be more complex demanding the need for a more thought out process. For these reasons, it is important to choose mental math for the middle grades that is hinges more on mind games. Children from the age of 9 to 12 should cover this though those who are a bit slow at grasping this can also be included in the program.

          Since it is a bit difficult for students in this age gap to grasp the dynamics of mental math, it is advisable to start with easy strategies, which built up with time. This is regardless of whether the equations involve multiplication, addition, subtraction or division. By following a sequence, students are able to come up with the right answers until eventually; it becomes easier to solve questions that are more complex. For instance, for students to solve 64 + 77 they have to break this down to 64 +70 +7 or alternatively break it down into 60 + 70 + 11. It is important to note that this requires the student to break down the numbers in their heads and then mentally put them back together.

          A percentage of students in middle grade find it hard to calculate math mentally. For this reason, as teachers, it is important to find ideal teaching material that will aid in exploring some of the major ways to simplify this. This is especially true if they are battling with basic math problems. However, it is ideal to provide solid facts they can fall back on when handling computing math problems mentally.

          Teachers should understand that teaching middle graders mental maths is a step-by-step process. It should involve asking equations that involve numbers or story equations. Students should also be encouraged to answer them uniformly until eventually they are all at the same par. Also important is to ensure use of the right material to teach them. This can be easy since there are several guides on mental maths designed to cater to these needs.

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