Tag Archives: mental math

Magic Squares – Online

Here’s a fun little game for primary classrooms… The Magic Squares game provides students with a total for each row and column, as well as a few key starting numbers.  Use the magic wand to place the correct digits from the set of numbers at the bottom of the screen.  Double click to grab and then place the correct numerals in the grid.

Each game sets a different total for the rows and columns, so students can choose a number that makes sense for them before beginning.

The challenge of finding a sum for 3 addends is a good one for late grade 1 (when the digits without images to accompany them make sense) through grades 3.

Have fun!


Mental Math Game – Grades 3 and up

I came across an interesting game today in my perpetual on-line search for quality math games that promote thinking. It’s called Mission 211 – Mental Maths.

A video transmission from mission control’s Caleb explains the tasks at hand.  You must answer mental math questions as quickly as you can in order to collect biofuel rods and foil the evil roboids..!!  Best of all, Caleb provides strategies for solving the problems, if you need his help.  The strategies include “counting on”, “breaking down numbers” and “rounding” – what we might call compensation or friendly numbers.

The music and the heartbeat in the background (yes, really!) create a sense of urgency, and encourage you to complete the questions as quickly as you can.  If you need help, pressing the “HINT” button produces a mental math strategy to one side of the screen.  It’s a super helpful scaffold, and one that helps to make the numbers meaningful.  As you progress through the game, there are true or false multiplication and division questions as well – a nice blend of methods and ways of presenting content.

I like it!

Now – back to the game.  I’ve got some evil roboids to destroy.  🙂


PS – Play the game in FULL SCREEN MODE to avoid silly advertising

Fun online game – working with doubles

I was cruising around this morning and came across some of my favourite games for practicing mental math strategies. Check out this cool game called dinosaur dentist…  It asks kids to find the double fact that matches the number of teeth in the dinosaur’s mouth, then to subtract one tooth (the black one) to find the doubles less one fact!  The pain-free dino does a dance to celebrate afterwards.  Very cute!

The next game is called Woodcards.  It uses the idea of partitioning to help kids see how they can apply doubles strategies to much larger numbers.  The cards with the digits printed on them slide apart to help students remember they are talking about tens and ones!  It pairs the numbers with abacus sets to represent the values. This is a good game for late grade 2 or grade 3.

They are part of the most amazing and conceptually grounded sets of games for developing number and operational sense in primary students.  They are really fun (yes, even for me!) and the graphics are great too.  Check them all out at ICT Numeracy Games.  Developed by James Barrett to match the very evolved British curriculum, they are focussed on mental math strategies and help target those ideas in early learners.

Have fun!