If a child has math facts memorized early on in elementary school, this adds a tremendous advantage to their learning. When children are able to add and subtract basic math facts fluently, this will help them with more advanced concepts. Beyond memorizing, understanding mental strategies will help improve their self-confidence. Let’s take a look at some different mental math strategies that may help your child.
1.) Break Addition into Parts
To do this, add the hundreds, tens, and ones separately. For example, if the problem is 342 + 175, think about 300 + 100, 40 + 70, and 2 + 5. Then, you can mentally add 400 + 110 +7. Numbers such as this make it more manageable to add than trying to “carry” numbers in your head.
2.) Subtract by Adding
Some students find it difficult to subtract numbers, such as 14 – 8. Rather than counting backward, consider reversing the problem to make it an addition problem with a missing addend. For example, 8 + ___ = 14. This is a very important concept that connects addition with subtraction. Once this property is understood properly, students won’t need to memorize subtraction facts.
3.) Use Mnemonic Devices
Students who struggle with fact fluency may benefit from using rhymes and wordplay to help remember facts. Mnemonics are commonly used with memorizing multiplication facts. For example, if a student is struggling to remember 6×6, they can remember the phrase, “Six times six, pick up sticks. Six times six is thirty-six.” Many students may also like to create their own mnemonic devices!
4.) Double Double Strategies
Doubling strategies are helpful with both addition and multiplication. For example, if a student is presented with the problem 8×4, the student can work to solve this by 8×8=16 and 16+16 = 32. To break it down even further, to add 16 +16, a student could add (10 + 10) + (6+6). This also works for simple multiplication problems such as 9 x 2 = 9 + 9.
What are some of the math tricks that you use with your child?