The development of a variety of mental strategies helps to make children confident mathematicians.
Students who can perform mathematical computations swiftly and accurately in their heads are seen as being good at maths. In general, poorer performing students use less efficient strategies and the development of mental computation through a strategy approach can help them move forwards. Research has shown that after instruction students seem more likely to use strategies that reflected number sense and that this was a long-term change. (Markovits and Sowder, 1994)
The Year 4 Targeting Mental Maths book has been written to complement the NSW Year 4 Targeting Maths Student Book. The two-page weekly units run parallel to the contents in the student book. Units are divided into four terms of work and each term ends with a Revision Unit. There are 35 units in total.
A unit consists of two facing pages. The left-hand page has three groups of quick mental exercises that constantly practise the necessary maths facts. The right-hand page always starts with an explanation and practice of a mental strategy. This is followed by exercises that include work on space, measurement, position, number, data, chance etc. The page concludes with a problem of the week.
Answer pages are in the centre of the book so that the complete section can be easily pulled out and kept separate if the teacher so wishes.
Targeting Mental Maths fulfils the need for easily accessible mental warm-ups, constant practice of maths facts, a useful homework book and further revision of a concept being taught.