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Featured resource

Making number talks matter

Making number talks matter

A number talk is a brief daily practice where students mentally solve computation problems and talk about their strategies. The talks help students to work flexibly with numbers and arithmetic properties, building a solid foundation and confident disposition for future learning.

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Home > Library > TDT Readings > Mental computation

Mental computation

From Here to There: The Path to Computational Fluency with Multi-digit Multiplication

Drawing upon research, theory, classroom and personal experiences, this paper focuses on the development of primary-aged children's computational fluency with multi-digit multiplication. Getting children from 'here' (current strategy use) to 'there' (a more efficient strategy) is often not a straight-forward path. The critical links between number sense and a child’s ability to perform mental and written computation with ease are examined.

tdt_MC_bobis1.pdf 422.48 kB

Numbers + Magic = Answer. Students Explaining: Make the Most of Mental Computation

Annaliese Caney provides questioning techniques to help teachers ‘capture’ the mathematical ideas of children as they explain their mental computation strategies.

tdt_MC_caney1.pdf 150.28 kB

Mental Methods Moving Along

How can we encourage students to take ownership of their own mental strategies? Ann Heirdsfield explores this issue in relation to students making sense of numbers using their own natural skills.

Is Your Classroom Mental?

Emilia Mardjetko and Julie Macpherson put a strong case for an emphasis on developing mental calculation strategies with students and suggest helpful teaching approaches to achieve this.

Put Mental Computation First?

Arguments about the place of standard methods, the calculator and mental mathematics abound. Geoffrey Morgan adds to this debate by proposing a framework for computation.

tdt_MC_morgan1.pdf 281.66 kB

Strategies for Going Mental

Much is known about mental strategies and how children use them. Evidence suggests that discussion should play a key part in the development of mental strategies and yet many mental computation sessions are still characterised by the traditional ten or twenty quick question approach. This paper reviews what is known about mental strategies, examines why a certain level of inertia exists and suggests a way forward.

tdt_MC_swan1.pdf 232.47 kB