What is mental math and how is it helpful?

As the term mental math suggests, it refers to the practice of solving mathematical problems mentally. This implies that an individual would calculate in his/her head, without using any calculator or writing anything down. Even if you don’t know what mental math exactly is, you have probably done it plenty of times yourself while paying at a store. This alone indicates how important mental math is in our daily lives. For children, practicing mental math and developing their skills in it is crucial. In fact, it should always be a part of children’s curriculum, even if it seems too easy to require learning.

How does practicing mental math help?
Have you found that your child struggles to solve regular math problems? One of the easiest solutions to this challenge is to help them develop their skills in mental math. Some of the most notable benefits of practicing mental math are:

1. Easier ways to solve math problems
Mental math involves various alternative techniques that help to solve math problems more easily. For instance, calculating 11% of 150 in the conventional method requires you to divide 11 by 100 and multiply it by 150. However, one can instead calculate 10% of 150 i.e., 15, and add 1.5, which is 1% of 150. While the answer would be 16.5 in both cases, the second process is much simpler and one can solve it mentally.

2. Easy to break down complex calculations
It is easy to mess up while solving smaller calculations that are a part of a bigger math problem. Even a small mistake at any substage may cause the entire process to go wrong. However, children who are good at mental math can solve these problems more easily as they can tackle the calculations with ease.

3. Mental math saves time
As it must be evident already, solving math problems mentally is quicker than doing it through paperwork. This saves a lot of time, especially while solving bigger problems. Being able to solve math faster is helpful not only during exams, but also makes the whole process less boring. Children tend to hate math especially when it is time-consuming and boring.

4. It helps to understand the concepts better
Trying to solve math problems without understanding the concepts naturally makes it more challenging. By solving math mentally, students can understand how and why a specific algorithm works. A deep conceptual understanding is far better than just memorizing the processes. For instance, many are unaware that when we carry a digit to the next column while adding numbers, we actually split the sum into tens and ones.

5. Mental math sharpens the memory
Practicing mental math is also great for memory. After all, it requires an individual to remember and recall numbers, along with the ways to solve a specific problem. Over time, it would strengthen one’s memory not only in mathematics, but every aspect in general.

Thus, it would certainly be a wise choice to provide your children with the right study materials to help them practice mental math. This simple technique could improve their math skills significantly.


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