Written for support staff, this book offers tested numeracy strategies for working with students and provides tools for expanding a staff member’s own subject knowledge.

Mental Methods

Mental methods

This chapter will help you to:

  • understand what is meant by mental methods and why mental strategies are important
  • develop your own confidence in using a range of mental calculation strategies
  • become familiar with some of the arguments about the use of calculators in schools

What are Mental Methods?

By mental methods we do not mean the quick recall of known facts. Instead we mean mental calculation strategies, ways of using known facts to solve problems ‘in the head’. Some of these strategies involve making written notes (‘jottings’) at intermediate stages before arriving at the final answer, but mental strategies are not usually the same as formal written methods (the standard algorithms).

Older readers may remember when mathematics appeared to be separated into three distinct areas, ‘mental’, ‘mechanical’ ...

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