Hello I am interested in using daily (or almost daily) mental math activities in my high school math classroom, but I'm unsure of how to do so. I have used this in grade 8 by having the mental math be on a powerpoint and the students had ten questions each day. After the questions were posted (with a time limit for each one) the answers would go up and students would self correct. We (my coop teacher and I) couldn't really asses the mental math this way but we were able to see how the students were doing and developing. I am thinking to employ something similar in my class, but I need to have more ability to asses it. Any techniques that work for you? Thanks!

Nice idea, but I wouldn't have the time to insert anything like that. I barely get through the necessary curriculum in the appropriate time.

My resource director said he has great luck in the elementary grades with memorizing their times tables by offering gift certificates to McDonald's, Wendy's, etc. as prizes. Students are given competitive timed tests. I'm going to try something similar with my geometry class this year in memorizing square roots and perfect squares. I'll let you know if it bombs or turns out to be a resounding success. G-minus 4 days, 10 hours MathManTim

Our school has a daily study hall, and we started giving our high schoolers the math times tables... they couldn't do them! I was shocked! We plugged away at it though, and within about 6 weeks, they were doing markedly better.

I have decided that I am going to give mental math everyday, ten questions and one short word problem. The course I am teaching emphasizes doing problems quickly in your head for the workplace. I am going to have students create a duotang or scribbler just for mental math. I run my mental math using PowerPoint so that the questions are timed to change automatically. I have the answers showing after all questions have been completed so the students can see how well they did and where they are struggling. Each week will be the same topic, so everyday they are trying to improve on their "score" from last day. On Fridays (or the end of the week if it is shorter) I will not show the students the answers, but rather I will collect the folders and correct them myself. That way I am assessing their skills but only have they have had some practice and self-assessment. I will let you all know how it works out!

I'm doing the mental math as part of my warm-up. Sometimes I'm going to ask them to explain how they could use mental math to solve a problem. But each day we will roll the dice to decide if I'm taking it up. This way they never know when I'm taking it up and they won't feel that I'm taking it up as a punishment to them. I've used this in the past and the kids really enjoy it. A student rolls the dice. If the dice yields an even number then we take up the warm-ups; if it's odd then we put them away in our notebooks.

This mental math sounds great. Can someone please explain to me how it works. I would like to use it in my class.

Tim, when I taught 7th grade, I did times tables first trimester, then perfect squares and cubes 2nd. I still pull them out once in a while to keep skills fresh for my kids. Also, there's a LOT of SAT prep math your sophs can do as warm ups!!

Mental math is not a way of doing all the work in your head. Mental math is a different way of thinking or an accelerated way of thinking. For example: ∫ln(cosx) sinx/cosx dx Can you write down the answer in one step? How?

Sorry, it's been 9 years since I taught Calc. How do you integrate ln again?? And I think that most of us understood what the OP meant by "mental math"-- math that kids are asked to do without the aid of a pen, paper, or calculator.

Sahsjing, this is driving me a little nuts. I lent out my Calc notes this year to a brand new teacher who ended up teaching Calc at the last minute. So I'm guessing here... integration by parts??? I see the cos x and the whole u'/u thing, but forget the details. Come on-- TG or someone, fill in the blanks for me!