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If it’s not friendly, it’s not working!

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If it’s not friendly, it’s not working!

Think Mentals 8/5/17


Getting your students to use mental computation strategies effectively can be a challenge. Despite your weekly mental computation lesson, students can resort back to inefficient and time-consuming methods of writing out all the steps instead of working it out in their heads.

The problem with many strategies out there is that they are poorly structured, unclear or too complicated. Some strategies are written by a maths academic who has never set foot in a classroom. Sometimes the advice simply outlines what a student should be able to do as opposed to how they actually do it. And sometimes the strategies feel like a bunch of word salads, tossed together with poor structure and the assumption that you already know every ingredient.

So, how can you get your students to use strategies effectively time and time again? By making maths friendly.

What does a friendly strategy look like?

Of course, explicit teaching is a must for learning mental computation strategies, but it’s not the only ingredient for success. The strategies themselves need to be super simple and easy to understand.

Think Mentals’ award-winning strategies have been cleverly crafted to be … well, friendly. Every strategy is broken down into a simple 2- or 3-step linear sequence that students can go through to solve a maths problem in their heads.

Take the Think Mentals Year 4 addition strategy Friendly and Fix. This 3-step strategy teaches students to make a friendly number, calculate, and then fix the change. It is accompanied by three examples to illustrate exactly how this is done.

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Like Friendly and Fix, all other Think Mentals strategies break down maths problems into simple steps, making the strategies friendly to teach and therefore friendly to learn.

For more strategies like Friendly and Fix, check out the Think Mentals series or contact your local education consultant for a demo.

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