Mental math skills are extremely important ones to have for use on a regular day to day basis but they require long hours of diligent practice to maintain and improve. Multiplying Big Numbers Quickly. Once basic proficiency in math has been established, it is never enough to just halt your progress wherever you decide to.
Learning skills in math is just like learning skills in any other field. It is a cumulative process that requires lots of time and dedication to be done effectively.
Mental math skills, Big Numbers Quickly
There are many different facets of mathematics that you have to learn in order to gain any proficiency in the subject. Throughout the course of this book, we will go over some of the most important of these facets especially through the optic of developing mental math skills.
We should start with a basic aspect of math, multiplication. It takes a number of different strategies to develop mental calculation abilities in regards to multiplication. Once all of these strategies are learned, they can easily be applied to specific situations that apply to each respective strategy.
When you think of most of the math that the average person finds him or herself doing on a day to day basis, it is usually not done by means of calculators and even more rarely done by means of written computation. It is almost always done instead by mental computations. With this being said, it is no wonder why skills developed in mental math computations are always incredibly useful ones to have.
Sadly though, many neglect to develop their mental math everyday skills beyond a certain age and are put at a disadvantage for doing so. As far as students are concerned, developing mental skills can also help them to get a better understanding of both number sense and number properties.
Multiplication by single digit numbers
The first type of mental multiplication that we should now go over is multiplication by single digit numbers. At first, students can use this strategy to multiply smaller numbers. Once they have developed skills with these they can then move on to bigger numbers. For example, a student can multiply 3 four times to get 12. If he or she then multiply 3 by 12 then the student gets 36.
Multiplication by powers of ten
The next step in multiplication is multiplying by powers of ten. This is much easier to do as it only results in another decimal point being included in the final answer. To multiply by powers of ten, all you need to do is multiply the other number by the first number in the power of ten. For example, four times ten would come out to 40, while four times one would come out to four. As you can see, the decimal points, or zeros, in these cases just carry over with the rest of what is being multiplied.
If, however, the numbers do not end in zero, then the first decimal point listed should have a zero put behind it when multiplying. For example, 15 times 6 would translate to 5 times 6 (30) and 10 times 6 (60). 30 plus 60 would then equal 90, so 15 times 6 would be 90.
One strategy that students often use is the visualization of written algorithms. This is not an advisable strategy to use because it makes making computations much less efficient and much more difficult. Algorithms only work well when written down on paper. There are other much more useful methods for multiplying mentally.
Mental estimation is another very important skill for a student to learn. This is especially useful when answers are specific to an extent at which it would require a calculator to find them. For example, estimation would have to be used when finding out the area of a yard on the fly. If the fencing was 20ft. by 10ft., the area would be 200ft.
A student could not, however, know definitively the length of the fence, so he or she would have to estimate in this case. To better estimate mentally you must know how to do mental calculations, round to convenient numbers, and be able to determine whether or not an answer is too big or too small.
Again, it requires frequently repeated practices to develop skills in making math calculations. There are some very helpful activities for developing these skills which should now be mentioned.