We have all seen and have been startled by the various videos that we come across where little kids perform heavy and complex calculations and give the answers in just a jiffy! Well, ever wondered how do they do that? While large numbers might look daunting to most of us, how do the children in the videos calculate 1256+9876 in just a few seconds? Is it a skill or a trick that they know of?

Mental maths is a set of skills that allows people to do math “in their heads” without utilizing any tool. It is beneficial in both the school and an individual’s daily life. Mental arithmetic can assist children in acquiring a greater understanding of math ideas and procuring answers more quickly. It also aids in the development of concrete skills rather than relying solely on memorization to perform calculations.

Students must use their understanding of numbers and mathematical procedures to perform mental calculations. It not only challenges their memory span but also helps improve it.

The estimating process is based on mental calculations. It enables us to assess whether or not the results acquired without using a calculator are accurate.

**How is mental math used in our daily lives?**

We all are taught to calculate in conventional methods; however, mental math is the process of doing mathematical calculations in your mind without using a calculator, pen, or paper. Some people think of it as manipulating numbers in their minds. Everyday examples of mental maths encompass:

**1. While shopping –**

Buying a pack of 10 chocolates for Rs.100 is better than buying 10 chocolates for Rs.15 each. You can simply divide Rs. 100 by 10 chocolates, and see that purchasing this pack in which each chocolate costs Rs. 10 is better than purchasing 10 chocolates each for Rs.15, which will be Rs. 150.

**2. When at the paying counter-**

If you’re confused with whether the amount you got from the cashier is correct or not, you can simply do the mental maths in your mind. If the list is like 61+22+36 then you can simply add 60+20+30 = 110 and 6+2+1 =9 that is 110+9=119. That’s your total. Then, subtract it with the total amount you gave with the total amount you got, 120-119=1.

**3. On a trip –**

Calculating in mind can be used extensively when on holiday. It helps you in calculating the distance whenever you are on the go. For example, If it takes you 20 mins to cross a km, then exactly how much time will it take you to cross 5 km? Simply, multiply 5 × 20 = 100 ( 1 hr 40 mins ) or you can add 20, 5 times more, which will be 20+20+20+20+20 = 100.

Mental math would also come in handy whenever one needs to convert kilometers into miles or meters.

**4. While preparing food – **

Quantifying mentally while preparing food is one of the most crucial uses of mental maths. Suppose you are preparing an extravagant meal for some guests and carefully monitor the ingredients’ quantity. However, the recipe is for four people, and you need to make the dish for 9-10 people. In such a situation, you would have to use more than double the quantity of each ingredient. That is, each item should be added 2.5 times more than given in the recipe so that the dish can be sufficient for all your guests. Doing so using mental math can be a cakewalk; otherwise, it can leave you bewildered!

**5. Home decorating and remodeling –**

Calculating areas and perimeters can be a tricky affair! However, they come into use more than you can expect. As individuals, we love to change our rooms, decor, and the color of the walls. But how would you calculate how much paint you need? Or how much of that wallpaper should you buy? Knowing how to calculate these mentally would help you decide how much lumber to buy for the floor or ceiling in just a jiffy.

**6. Sports –**

Most of us love sports! Often we find ourselves sitting in front of the television, watching our favourite cricket series, cheering for our favourite team. Imagine your team needs to score 291 to win in 50 balls, but the score is 201. How would you calculate now how many runs does the team need? Sitting with a calculator in hand would just not be a good idea! In such a case, mental math is also used to determine that the team still needs 291-201=90 runs to win from 50 balls.

**7. How much time is left for the class to get over –**

If it is 12:05 in the clock, and the lecture gets over at 12:40, how would you calculate how much time is still remaining for the class to be over? In such cases, students use the ability of the mind to carry out calculations without using any pen/paper or gadget.

Moreover, a student might be curious to know how much time is left for his favorite activity period which takes place at 1:10 PM. If the clock is showing the time 12 PM, using mental maths, the student would be easily able to calculate that there is exactly 1 hour 10 mins left for the same!

**8. Exchange rates – **

If you are on a trip to Europe and suddenly stumble across your favorite chocolate that cost 5$ in your country, but it is just 1 euro in the country you are in. Then how would you calculate if it’s a good deal for you or not? Converting 1 euro into dollars would require you to multiply or divide your currency rate by the euro to get the price of the chocolate in dollars! Doing this mentally would help you many folds as one is not always equipped with a calculator.

**9. Filling the Fuel –**

When filling the fuel, you might need to calculate a certain number mentally. For example, if you need to get filled 10 liters of fuel in your vehicle, and the fuel where you live costs $1.5 per liter, you would want to know how much price you would have to pay for 10 liters. Always depending on gadgets and pen and paper would not be the ideal proposition for you! In such a case, using the mind’s potential to calculate that you would have to pay $15 for 10 liters would need the capacity to perform mental math.

**10. Splitting the bill – **

When you are at a restaurant with many friends, you decide to split the bill equally amongst all members. Now, if the bill comes up to be around 100$, and there are 5 friends, you would need to perform mental maths to determine how much each friend needs to pay. Moreover, when offering the tip to the server, if you decide upon giving a 10% of the total bill as a tip, using the mind’s potential to calculate would help you manifolds in determining that each of the friends needs to pay 20$, and the server would be given a tip of 10$.

**Examples and ways to improve your mental math ability and skills**

While we might not realize it, mental maths is used every day in our lives. It increases a person’s number sense or their capacity to understand how quantities relate to one another. There are numerous effective methods for enhancing mental math ability.

**1. Make it easy **

Multiplying and adding large numbers can be difficult for students. Helping individuals minimize the difficulty by momentarily changing the values around them is an excellent method.

**For example,**

If the question is to calculate 991+440, it is easier to add 9 to 991. Thus, making the calculation more doable. Calculate 1000 + 440, which is 1,440 and subtract 9 to get the correct number, 1,431.

You can also encourage learners how to use this method for multiplication. For example, instead of calculating 49 x 6, compute 50 x 6 and then subtract that extra 6, resulting in 300-6 = 294.

Students will find it much easier to calculate with multiples of ten if you encourage them to round off figures during calculations. This will not only help in solving the equations more simply but will also sharpen their calculation skills.

**2. Subtract by adding**

This is a crucial concept based on the relationship between addition and subtraction. Instead of subtracting, consider ” what can be added to 9 to make it 13?” if the purpose is to find the difference. To put it another way, consider the amount that needs to be added, like- 9 + ? = 13. The solution to that is the same as the answer to questions 13 – 9.

This technique is especially useful for subtractions like 11 – 7, 15 – 8, 14 – 7, and other fundamental subtraction facts. It can, however, be used in a variety of other contexts.

**For example, **79 − 82 is easier to solve if we think in this way, 79 + 3 makes 82, so the answer to 79 − 82 is 3.

**3. Make multiplication simpler –**

Large numbers might be difficult for learners to multiply. As a result, the most natural thing to teach is to simplify and multiply numbers.

**For example,**

When multiplying any number by 10, just add a zero at the end of the answer. Like, 72 × 10 = 720

Then another easy hack is if there are any two-digit numbers, multiply it by 11. All you have to do is add the two numbers and place them in the center.

Like, to multiply 42 by 11, you can simply add the two digits 4+2, which is 6, and place it in the center that is 462; you’ll see that even if you cross-check the answer by multiplying 42×11, the answer is the same.

**4. Tricks for division **

You could minimize division problems for your learners by giving them a concise list of crucial facts to memorize so they can divide quickly. Here’s an easy approach to see if a number can be split evenly by these numbers:

- You can divide any number with 10 if it has zero (0) in the end. 370÷10 = 37
- You can divide any number by 8 if the last three numbers/ digits are divisible by 8 or if they end with triple zeros (000).
- If a number is even, you can divide it by 2.
- A number is divisible by 3, if the sum of the digits of a number is divisible by 3.

**5. Tricks to solve Percentage problems**

Finding the percentage of numbers can get even more difficult as students progress in class, but employing the appropriate arithmetic tactics and tricks can help them solve these problems quickly.

To find a Percentage of 5 for any number can be solved in seconds. To find what is 5% of 325, use the following formula:

**Step 1: **Change 325 to 32.5 by moving the decimal point over one place.

**Step 2:** Divide 2 with 32.5 to get 16.25. That is also the solution to the actual problem.

Simply following these rules daily will help learners in strengthening their mental math skills. It will not only assist them in boosting their academic performance, but it will also give them the confidence to solve additional arithmetic problems. It will aid in the development of their learning and calculating abilities. The learners will be able to memorize and comprehend information more quickly.

**Summing Up**

We can conclude that mental calculation is a valuable tool for improving number sense and understanding of place value and mathematical operations. Mental maths experience helps students strengthen their capacity to work with numbers. By providing an approximate answer to a problem, the mental calculation can be utilized to prepare for written work. Certain mental procedures can help simplify the process by eliminating some steps in written calculations. As a teacher or a parent, you should give opportunities for your learners to apply mental math and estimate regularly. Furthermore, encourage your kids to identify examples of how mental calculations can be useful in daily lives, such as when shopping, conducting home renovations, estimating mileage, or working.

An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,