Mental Mondays #16

mental and oral maths

Here’s another versatile calculation-based Mental and Oral starter.

We are looking at number problems with multiple operations. For example, you display the following number sentence, or equation (since it is a mixed calculation there is no logical way we can call it a "sum").

Mental Calculation

Ask the children to work in pairs to do two things.

  • Firstly, to identify the missing number and to write it on a mini-whiteboard.
  • Secondly, to explain to each other how they worked it out so they can discuss this clearly with the whole group later.

Wait a minute or so for this to happen, and then explore with the children their answers and explanations. It may also be useful to ask the children to focus on what is the nature of the missing number, for example:


Mental Cacluation


Importantly, let the children experience seeing the equations in more than one way, so you can reinforce what the equals sign actually means.

Mental and Oral Caclution

Clearly the difficulty of this mental and oral started can be finely tuned to the needs and abilities of the children simply by offering more or less complex equations. Here are a few suggestions in order of difficulty.

Mental Calculation

Teaching mental calculation strategies

If you like this mental maths idea please send us some Google+ love, and let your friends and colleagues know about