Many children really struggle with adding and subtracting mentally in their heads and often rely on using their fingers to count. I’ve seen this with children all the way up to Year 6. This really slows children down in arithmetic tests, mental maths tests and when using written column method to solve addition and subtraction. It can also be very frustrating for children and lower their confidence because they don’t feel they know any other way of mentally adding and subtracting.

The methods below are some of the foundations in helping your child build confidence and speed in their mental addition and subtraction skills.

These are common questions that will pop up in tests and when your child is learning about fractions and percentages in more depth. It is useful to link these questions with real life scenarios, for example, when they are buying something in a sale with 15% off. This helps children to see how they can use their Numeracy skills in everyday life not just for a test!

In the last post, we looked at multiplying and dividing by 10, 100 and 1000. We are now going to look at how children can apply this skill to help them with other mental maths questions which will arise in the arithmetic test and during grid method for multiplication.

In the next part of the mental maths series, we are going to look at multiplying and dividing by 10, 100 and 1000. Your child will come across these type of questions in their arithmetic tests but it is also a really important skill to help them answer other mental maths questions and to use within grid method for multiplication.

Children tend to start this in Year 4 and Year 5 and the aim is for children to be able to do this mentally. However, a good starting point is using a place value chart.

There are some rules to remember:

Place value is a really important aspect of Numeracy which helps to give children a solid foundation in their understanding of number. It also really helps with their written methods and mental maths methods.

What does place value, with whole numbers, look like in each year group?

In the new Year 6 SATS paper, children now have an arithmetic test which comprises of around 36 questions to be answered in 30 minutes. Children will start to practise these tests throughout Key Stage 2. The tests can be answered using written methods or mental methods. Some questions will have to be answered using written methods as the numbers will be too large or complicated for children to work out mentally. However, there will be lot of questions which can be answered mentally, saving valuable time in the test and allowing more questions to be answered. In this blog post, we will look at some of the mental maths methods your child can use in the tests.

There are three formal written methods for multiplication used in Key Stage 2 : grid method, short multiplication and long multiplication.

What does multiplication looks like in each year group?