Mental math may seem like an ingrained skill that doesn’t require practice or development. But, elementary students who are still growing may lack the capacity to solve math problems in their head. Practicing mental math prepares students for harder math equations and also helps them to solve equations more quickly and accurately.
Without the help of a calculator or scratch paper, students have to rely on different areas of the brain to solve math problems. Math is used in everyday life! Encouraging students to practice this basic skill can not only prepare them for your classroom but also for the world at large. Students may also appreciate calculators a bit more once they solve a tough math challenge!
Practical Math Skill Application
You can teach practical math skills to your elementary students in many different ways. By using practical and applicable scenarios, students will understand the math behind the equation. Try practicing mental math with an emphasis on:
Drawing real life connections will help students find the motivation to solve math problems in their head.
For hands-on practice, this Mental Math Task Cards set from Minds in Bloom on Teachers Pay Teachers includes over 100 task cards with mental math problems, ranging across difficulty levels and including all four operations! By using these task cards in your next math lesson, students will begin to grasp the importance of mental math as well as the procedure for quickly reaching the correct solution.
How to Use Mental Math Task Cards in the Elementary Classroom
- In a Large Group: Teachers can read task cards out loud to students, encouraging student participation by calling on individuals or providing a way for all students to answer collectively! You can use white boards or tablets to maximize student participation.
- As an Assessment: If students have mastered the skill of mental math, use the task cards as quiz questions and have students record answers on the included answer sheets.
- In Pairs: Allow students to pair-up with their table-mates to work together. One student can read the card out loud while the other student answers. Trade off odds and evens, or have students work together to complete the answer sheet as a team.
- For Personal Practice: Just like flash cards, these task cards can be used for drill practice. Allow students the time to work through the set on their own, recording their answers on the answer sheet. Then, correct answers out loud as a class.
- In Math Games: Use these task cards for fun math games like Scoot, Quiz, or Quiz Trade!
- As an Icebreaker: Give the same card to two students and have them solve and find the student who holds the match. Or, assign the answer to one student and the problem to another, requiring everyone to work together and break the ice by finding their partner
Building Confidence, one task card at a time!
To our adult minds, mental math practice may not seem important or necessary. When teaching young impressionable kids, though, it is important to drill home the basics! Practicing mental math regularly in the elementary classroom will help students to better understand math concepts and will encourage them to tackle difficult math problems with confidence.
Purchasing these Mental Math Task Cards for your elementary classroom will reinforce these basic match computation skills from day one, ensuring that your students are well prepared for all scenarios in which they may need to use mental math – from the next math test to the regional baking competition, and even at the grocery store!
Try these Mental Math Task Cards for free Right Here!
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