- Thursday 13 February 2020
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Engaging pupils in simple maths games can improve their fluency and prepare them for more advanced concepts. Try the following activities to sharpen your pupils’ skills and help them enjoy mental maths!
- Shuffle a deck of cards and deal them face down. Distribute each player an equal number. The picture cards can have a value of 10 and aces a value of 11.
- Each player turns two cards face up, reads the number statement and offers the answer. For instance, if a player draws a 5 and 7, they say ‘5 x 7 = 35’. If the other player draws a 4 and 3, then they say ‘4 x 3 = 12’.
- The player with the higher number wins, and the four cards are placed at the bottom of their pile. Continue until one player runs out of cards.
- A pupil counts out five small objects like coins, marbles or counters and then closes their eyes.
- Cover some of the five objects, leaving the rest uncovered. Ask the pupil to count how many objects they can see, and how many objects are covered.
- You can practise this game until pupils can quickly calculate simple equations. To make it more challenging, keep adding one additional object once the pupil has mastered that level. For older children, you can start with 10–20 objects.
Double and halve
If you want to upgrade your pupils’ multiplication skills beyond basics, teach them to multiply two integers when one is an even number. What do you need for this mental maths trick? Just a basic understanding of the two times tables.
- Instruct pupils to double the odd number and halve the even number.
- End this process when the even integer cannot be halved or when the equation becomes easy.
Here’s how the process goes. Let’s use 33 x 48 as an example:
- 33 x 48
- 66 x 24
- 132 x 12
- 264 x 6
- 528 x 3
- 3 x 500 = 1500 + 3 x 20 = 60 + 3 x 8 = 24
101 and out
For this game, you’ll need a pencil, paper and one dice. The goal of the game is to score as close as possible to 101 without going over. Players take turns by rolling the dice. As you roll, you can either choose the number as a one or a ten. For example, if you roll a 2, it can be used as 2 or 20. Players keep a track of their total while playing. With this game, your pupils can apply more complex mental maths strategies, as they need to think critically about what number they need to roll next.
By using these mental maths tricks, your pupils will be able to solve various equations with ease and be ready to tackle complex content. For further mental maths practice, check out our New Wave Mental Maths workbooks!