Math Mentals

Welcome to my new followers or I should say followers as last time I posted I had zero, and now I have six! Whoo hoo! I have been attending a fortnightly problem solving PD and have got some great games and activities that I could use in the classroom. The one thing that the PD discusses every session is the importance of math mentals. Doing a 5 - 10 min warm up before each math session is vital to developing student's mental computation skills. So here are 3 easy activities to use as a math mental warm up.

1. Guess the Number
Give each student in the class a laminated hundred chart and a whiteboard marker. Choose a number or select a student to choose a number. Students will then ask questions that have a yes or no answer to determine the number. They could ask questions like
  • is the number odd?
  • is the number even?
  • is there a zero in the tens column?
  • is it larger than 50?
As students eliminate numbers, they can cross them off the hundreds chart.  Once students have asked a couple of questions and crossed off numbers, they should be able to determine what the starting number was. 
This game will build number sense, place value and the concept to develop key questions to eliminate unwanted numbers.

Here is a link to a FREE number chart on TPT

2. Recalling Math Facts
I bought a set of 9 PowerPoints off TPT that cover different strategies such as doubles, near doubles, making 10 to add 8 and 9 and more.  These were only $1 and were such a time saver.  You could also make your own PowerPoint or flashcards to practice recalling basic facts. 
Here is the link to the set of Powerpoints
3. Subitizing
Subitizing is a fundamental skill in the development of students' understanding of numbers.  Subitizing is a way of instantly counting. Students should be developing this skill to quickly recognise a number, and then be able to tell you how they worked out what the number was.  You can make your own flashcards with dots or any type of picture.  A game that I play in my class is called Jumping Jellybean which was showed to me by the fabulous Tracy McKay.  It not only gets students to recognize dots but also numerals and words as well.  The teacher has a set a cards and sits at the front of the class.  The cards go from zero to ten in numerals and words.  The cards are mixed with subitizing cards that have clusters of dots.  The teacher shows one student at a time the cards and they have to say what they see.  If it is a dot card, they first say the number and then go back and say how they worked it out.  e.g. if the card has 4 black dots together and 2 black dots together the student would say 6, and then they would say I worked it out by adding 4 and 2.  But, this game is called Jumping Jellybean because in the pack there are the Jumping Jellybean cards.  If a student gets this card, they jump up and say 'Jellybean' and then sit back down.  It is not only fun but also helps develop important subitizing skills. 

Please share what you do in your class as a warm up, I would love to hear from you.


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