#EduRead: Mental Mathematics Beyond Middle School

This week's article is "Mental Mathematics Beyond Middle School". I'm really excited to chat about this article because this is a topic that has come up in twitter chats in the past, especially when discussing multiplication facts, etc. We've all had frustrations with our students not recalling their elementary arithmetic skills or putting things like 10x35 in their calculators. How can we develop these mental math skills in our secondary (and post-secondary) math students?


  • "Number sense matures with experience." Thank God!
  • "Mental math makes easier the understanding of inverse operations.
  • " If students have never been asked to solve problems without calculators and if they have not learned calculator- free strategies, then mental math will never be an option that they choose." 
  • " Having specific objectives that are clearly known to students is part of building a successful program." 
My Thoughts
  • I really like the idea of "Think Twice Mentally"- an authentic way to integrate writing into math.
  • I am also a huge proponent of mental math. I found that doing it as a bell ringer every Monday made a significant difference. Throughout the week students would ask if they were allowed to use the calculators. Just my emphasis on one day a week made them more aware of their dependency.
  • Quite a few students took it as a personal challenge to use the calculator less throughout the year.
  • Throughout lessons and activities I would say "Does anyone know the answer in their head?" similar to the way they author said "Here's a good chance to use our mental math." 
  • I like the idea of a two part assessment. How often can I incorporate this?
  • Does mental math mean not using a calculator or doing everything in your head?
  • I'm a fan of the included example problem sets. I need to think of concepts that I hear adults complain about teenagers not knowing and cover those as well- although I like the problem sets I used last year. I thought they were well thought out and developed nicely over the course of the year.
  • Resource: http://www.estimation180.com/blog