# Mental & Oral

**How do you keep mental mathematics interesting? ...How do you engage children in 'estimating'? ...How do you make calculator work meaningful?**

These are all vital questions, and finding appropriate solutions can become increasingly difficult the further into Key Stage 2 you teach! **Read more »**

Here's a versatile idea that helps children** use and apply** their knowledge of **fractions **or **percentages **in a surprisingly fun way. You begin by showing the children something that appears to be a word puzzle, but actually contains some covert mathematics. **Read more »**

This week we offer a PowerPoint presentation that takes you through nine separate **mental challenges**. Each slide is based on a puzzle that involves connecting a series of numbers so that the total is always the same.

The puzzles are based on a pattern of lines and circles. Like this:

This is a straightforward **mental and oral maths idea** to encourage the children to use and apply their calculation skills. We've given it a small Mathsticks twist by utilising a unique visual resource, but more about that later.

Here's what happens.

A two digit random number is generated either by rolling two dice or selecting digit cards. This is the target number, and it is displayed on the board. **Read more »**

I always loved the idea of using the **Magic Square** concept with children since it offers so many opportunities to get to grips with problem solving. However, it always seemed to me that Magic Squares on their own lacked a sense of purpose; if they were set into a historical context, then that seemed fine - but purely as maths puzzles, they only ever seemed to interest a small number of children. **Read more »**

This starter idea focusses on** 2D Shape**. In particular the properties of shape and the correct use of shape related vocabulary. Like most of our mental and oral starter ideas it can be used as a group or individual activity too.

It is related to the "**Target Board**" activity we explored in Mental Mondays #13

Here's how this one works. You show a grid of 30 numbered shapes: **Read more »**

** In our previous mental and oral suggestion (Mental Monday #12) we focussed on calculation. **That activity involved displaying a grid of numbers and challenging the children to choose numbers to solve specific problems.

**Read more »**