Here is a fun game to play in class. Tell students that you want to measure something and have them tell you which units you should use as a measure for problems involving both weight and linear measure.

Read more →One of the interesting ways you can get your elementary students to work with mental math is to use visual patterns. For example, if you take all the face cards out of a set of playing cards, you’ll have the number cards remaining. Take a couple of these decks and cover up the numbers and the small designation of the suit. What you’ll have left is just the number pattern on the card. You can then use these cards as flash cards to get students to use their mental math muscles.

Read more →Bring in a huge jar of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Have the students work at one large table or break them up in groups with four participants in each group. Each student in a group will be in charge of one of the types of coins.

The goal is to have the students come up with different groupings of these coins to add up to 25¢.

Read more →As adults we forget that just quickly finding the answer for 10 more or 10 less than a specific number can be a feat of mental gymnastics for children. For your first or second grade class this is a great way to get their mental juices going.

Read more →Tell the students to put away all books, electronic devices, calculators, pens or pencils. For this activity you want them to use the best calculators they have…their minds!….This activity is also a great springboard for having students think about salaries in different countries or for different types of work.

Read more →The goal of the activity is to have them plan a meal that meets but does not exceed the daily requirements on this chart. In order to create this meal they’ll need to use labels from the box. They can pull as few as 8 but as many as 12 labels to create their meals. They’ll need to use mental math to determine if their foods add up to or exceed the minerals allowed.

Read more →Bring in a large cylindrical glass jar that is filled with marbles of different shapes and sizes. Also bring in a tiny cylindrical glass jar that is filled with marbles. Tell the students the amount of marbles that are in the tiny jar.

Their task is to estimate the number of marbles in the large glass jar. At the end of the activity, have students count the marbles in the large glass jar and compare them to the mental math answers they came up with.

Read more →Start with a number you pick and write on the board. Then come up with a rule in your head and write the result on the board.

Now leave it to students to figure out what operation you performed to come up with your result.

You can adjust this mental math activity based on the level of your students.

Read more →Choose a number between 1-100 but don’t tell your class what the number is. Now they must ask you questions to determine what the number is. But here is the catch…if they ask you a direct question, such as “Is the number 35?” they will be disqualified. […]

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