There are times when we have to do instant arithmetical calculations. For example, suppose you go to a shop to buy a T-shirt which offers you a 10% discount. Obviously, you won't have a pen and paper to perform your arithmetical calculations about the final price you have to pay.
These are times when you have to calculate fast and that too without any resources. Only your brain can help you during such times. Therefore, it is very important for everyone to develop certain specific tricks for mental maths for moments like these.
Also, one of the mental math facts is that there is a positive correlation between mental calculation and mathematical reasoning. So, if you increase your mental maths abilities, your mathematical and logical reasoning skills increase automatically.
As the name suggests, mental math refers to a group of skills that allows people to do arithmetical calculations “in their head” without the use of calculators or other resources. Mental maths is useful in everyday life to answer different questions like:
What is the final selling price of a particular item?
What is the correct amount of change that I am supposed to receive from the cashier?
What time to leave in order to reach a particular place on time?
Importance of Developing Mental Maths Skills
As kids, it is easy to understand and develop tricks for mental maths. These are important to develop because:
It helps students to understand the basic and higher-level math concepts in a better way.
Using and doing mental math problems regularly helps a child improve his/her sense of numbers. For example, which is a better deal? Buying a box of 12 chocolate for Rs.100 or buying a bar of individual chocolate for Rs. 10.
It helps students solve higher-level problems at a better speed.
It stimulates the brain and makes it sharper. It makes a student good with imagination, visualization, and creativity.
It boosts the self-confidence and self-esteem of a student.
This is like an exercise for the brain which keeps the brain healthy.
It has a lot of practical applications.
Regularly attempting mental math tests prepare you for academics and competitive exams.
Looking at the above-mentioned reasons, it becomes clear that it is very important to develop these mental math tricks. These skills are not inborn. There are various methods and techniques to improve the skills which bring us to the next question.
How to Improve Mental Maths?
Some of the ways of improving the mental maths abilities of kids are as follows:-
One of the very basic and essential math facts is that you learn math concepts by practice. We all start slowly, but it is very important to challenge ourselves to perform arithmetical calculations faster without the use of paperwork or calculators.
This can be done only if we regularly practice these calculations in our brains, using our mental abilities.
Avoid using calculating devices
Even if you are taking time to calculate something, it is advisable to use a pen and paper instead of a calculator. This helps in developing the mental abilities of a student. You will notice that your brain starts developing these skills slowly and steadily and you don't even require a pen and paper.
Students are at their learning age. Therefore it is very important as elders to support them at every stage. They might lose their confidence in their abilities. Therefore it is very important to keep them encouraged at every step.
Practice tricks and strategies
Mental calculations involve building techniques regarding specific problems rather than memorizing the answers. There are various tools and games to develop these mental strategies like flashcards, online videos, math puzzles, etc.
Apply in real-life
Maths is a practical subject. It can be made easier if students develop the habit of comparing the equations and visualizing them with real-life examples.
Start on fingers
Find out different ways to perform mental mathematics. Every student starts with a pen and paper. Then they must shift towards the calculations on the fingers and eventually they will develop the habit of calculating in their minds.
Make things fun
Learning is of no use if it is not done whole-heartedly. Therefore, it is important to make it fun and exciting. This helps a child to keep going and overcome the failures.
You can also use apps/websites which have tones of mental math resources and also mental math tests that will help you sharpen your mental skills.
How to do Mental Math Tricks?
Some of the mental maths tricks are explained with the help of easy mental math problems as follows:-
The trick of numbers near to the multiples of 10
Perform the calculations on the multiples of 10s and then add/subtract the requirements.
To add 9 to any number, first add 10, and then subtract 1. Like, 9 + 7 = 10 + 7 - 1 = 16.
76 + 99 can be changed to 75 + 100.
Yet another example could be 107 + 105 = 100 + 100 + 12 = 212
The trick of doubles plus one
Convert different numbers into the same number and then add/subtract the requirement. For example, 5 + 6 is just one more than 5 + 5 +1 = 11, or 9 + 8 is equal to 9 + 9 - 1 or 8 + 8 +1 = 17.
Perform addition by breaking the number as per their place values
For example, suppose we have the following question, 220 + 364 + 44 + 18 = ??
200 + 300 = 500
20 + 60 +40 +10 = 130
4 + 4 +8 = 16
Repeat the process:
500 + 100 = 600
30 + 10 = 40
And at the unit's place we have 6.
Now perform, 600 + 40 + 6 = 646
Subtract by adding
This is a little difficult but regular practice makes everything easy. For example, if you are asked to find what is 87 − 46, think it as ”46 plus what number is equal to 87?” In other words, think of 46 + ___ = 87. The answer to the subtraction will be the same as the answer to the addition performed i.e. 41.
The nifty trick
To find 5 times of any number, first, multiply the number by ten, then take half of that. For example, 5 × 58 can be found by multiplying 10 × 58 = 580 and then taking half of it, i.e. 290. We can use this strategy for making other combinations also but that requires a very strong hold of these basic mental math concepts first.
Four and eight times a number
To find four times a number, double that number twice.For example, what is 4 × 72? First find 72 x 2 = 144. Then double that, 144 x 2 = 288. Similarly, eight times a number just means doubling three times. Continuing our example, if we have to find 8×72 we just have to double 288 once again which will result in 576.
Multiplying in parts
This is quite a simple strategy. Suppose we have to find 3 × 74 mentally. We can break it into parts like 3 × 70 and 3 × 4 and then add the results. We will get 210 + 12 = 222.
Using and doing mental math problems regularly helps a child improve his/her sense of numbers and understand the basic and higher-level math concepts in a better way.
Mental math skills are useful in daily life and academic life alike. You can follow the above-mentioned tips to get better at it. You can even show off your fast calculation skills in front of your friends!
Cuemath, a student-friendly mathematics and coding platform, conducts regular Online Classes for academics and skill-development, and their Mental Math App, on both iOS and Android, is a one-stop solution for kids to develop multiple skills.Understand the Cuemath Fee structure and sign up for a free trial.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Mental Maths?
Mental math refers to a group of skills that allows people to do arithmetical calculations “in their head” without the use of calculators or other resources. t helps students to understand the basic and higher-level math concepts in a better way
How to improve mental math skills?
Regular practice and calculations without using calculators will help you improve mental math skills. Keep pushing yourself to do complex calculations in your mind. There are various tools and games to develop these mental strategies like flashcards, online videos, math puzzles, etc.