i‑Learner Education Centre

Steps to Success » Maths and Science

Boosting Basic Mental Maths Skills

As a Maths tutor at i-Learner, parents often ask me how to improve their child’s calculation speed and accuracy, and a good mental Maths ability is the answer to that. However, it’s not as easy as diving straight in to practising these skills. In my experience, the key is to stimulate learning motivation first, and then think about the skills.

It can be frustrating not to see your child’s true Maths abilities  show in their exam results. However, drilling children excessively for each test can turn them off Maths permanently. Instead, find a way to make Maths fun and engaging. It’s easy to get a sense of achievement when solving Maths puzzles, and there are lots of games to play to train up Maths abilities too. Take a look at the ideas below:

Games and contests are great for younger learners. I often play Maths-related board games with my students, and I add a ‘Mental Maths Challenge’ to each turn for a chance at an extra move. For instance, if we’re playing Aeroplane Chess, I ask students a mental Maths question before they throw the dice, and they can throw twice if they’re right. Children quickly become eager to improve their mental Maths abilities when there’s a chance at winning a game!

Real-world Maths is also a great chance to improve a child’s skills. While doing daily shopping, parents can encourage their children to calculate the total amount and the change. You might even offer the change to your child as reward if their calculation is correct! You can also include time calculations in these everyday Maths challenges.  For example, when on a journey,  parents can also ask questions like: ‘How long did it take us on the bus?’ ‘What time do we have to leave so we’re not late?’ Their sense of achievement and responsibility will encourage them to keep practising their mental Maths skills.

Our Numeracy and Problem Solving class gives students a fun and exciting way of learning Mathematics, and thereby improve their mental Maths and problem-solving skills. Come and study Maths and play Maths with Mr Michael!