11 Dec Why Is Mental Maths Important In Primary Schools?
Mental math is a critical function in our daily lives, helping us to perform basic tasks. Being able to perform mental math in primary school gives students a vital skillset for learning other mathematical techniques. In fact, many students stumble on various mathematical concepts due to an inability to perform mental maths.
Mental maths is known to keep our brains sharp and in top form. Like any muscle, the brain requires exercise in order to get stronger. As such, it should not be overlooked even at more advance levels. Before we dive further into the importance of metal maths, let us first look mathematics in primary schools.
The Importance of Mathematics in Primary School
Primary school mathematics is the foundational block upon which a student’s future education is built on. It helps your child to make sense of the numbers, patterns and shapes that they will see in the world around them. At its core, mathematics is a language that is critical to society. Being fluid in understanding, making sense of, and communicating back in mathematics is a powerful skillset.
Children do delight in using mathematics techniques to solve a problem if it leads them to an unexpected discovery or a new connection. In fact, as their confidence grows, they often look for patterns or connections between two subjects, use logical reasoning and try out different approaches to problems.
Mathematics Has Great Utility
Competence in mathematics has many utilitarian benefits. It is an essential language for everyday living, applying itself from everyday tasks such as budgeting a week’s allowance to more complex uses such as interpreting market demand and supply data. Furthermore, in an increasingly digital world, equipping children form a young age with mathematics skills will help them in future with ICT applications such as projection models and programming.
Mathematics also boasts many related applications that build on its foundations. For example, physics which is taught in secondary school utilise various mathematics concepts. This is also true for business marketing, finance or operations which boast several mathematical formulas to be applied. In short, having a strong foundation in mathematics at the primary school level helps to open many doors for you when moving onward to more advance levels of education.
Mental Mathematics as a Foundation
Mental maths is a process whereby you perform all mathematical calculations in your head without the aid of a calculator, abacus or even pen and paper. Over the years, the importance of mental mathematics has increasingly been forgotten due to the constant presence of smart phones. Yet, their value remains evergreen in many daily life situations.
For example, if you were informed of a store sale for a product that you were interested in. Rather than having to whip out your phone to make the calculation, due to memory, the answer would simply come to you.
Multiplication Tables – An Early Form of Mental Mathematics
One of the most common forms of mental mathematics that is widely taught in primary school is that of the multiplication table. The multiplication table comes in various sizes, though most popular is its 10 by 10 version which tests multiplication up to 100. Students are strongly encouraged to memorised multiplication by a single digit by another single digit as it greatly speeds up their problem-solving capability.
More importantly than speed, it frees up your brain to work on other aspects of a problem. This is essential at higher levels of education where time during exams is precious and every bit of energy saved could make the difference between a letter grade.
In addition to its utility, mental mathematics also carries a social aspect. Many students who previously failed to first master basic mental mathematics tend to struggle in the classroom when on other topics. They commonly find their peers solving questions at a much faster pace and without the aid of tools. Subsequently, they are prone to entering a mindset whereby they deduce themselves to simply being born inferior in mathematics. This could not be further from the truth, however it does hammer home the importance of being fluid with mental mathematics.
How to Teach Mental Mathematics?
There is no short cut to mastering the fundamentals of mental mathematics. However, there are certain methodologies that have been proven to be quite successful in aiding students.
Firstly, you should look to demonstrate the usefulness of mental mathematics. For example, take your weekend grocery shopping trip to show your child the efficiency of mental math before challenging them to do so with tasks within the supermarket. With each successful application, your child will grow in confidence be willing to experiment on their own.
Secondly, for starters, certain mental mathematics strategies could be used as a launching platform. Take for example the multiplication of 20 by 300. For primary school students to perform this, they might resort to using pen and paper. However, a simple strategy to tackling this would involve multiplying 2 by 3 before appending the three 0s.
Thirdly, constant practice in daily live contexts makes perfection. Challenge your child to solve problems at every turn. This will help to exercise their brain and develop it naturally.
While it will not happen overnight, over time your child will naturally begin relying on their mental mathematics capabilities.
Trust MLGS to Help Your Child with Mathematics
Maths Learning Groups is a local maths tuition centre, established by Mr. Lawrence Ong, who is NIE-Trained and an ex Primary School Teacher with more than 15 years of teaching experience. We aim to help weaker students to bridge the gap with better-performing students by catering to their learning pace and style.
We strive to provide affordable primary school maths tuition rates so that no student will be deprived of the opportunity to learn from NIE-Trained teachers. We specialise in offering math tuition classes for students in Primary 3 to Primary 6. Our Math enrichment classes help to build up a strong solid foundation in the key mathematics concepts.
Our Primary school tuition classes in Singapore is committed to help students maximise their learning potential. This ensures that they hone strong critical thinking skills that will carry them through in their education journey.