# Mental arithmetic for Years 4, 5 and 6

Tricky question for you today! How would you do 15 x 8 in your head?

Think carefully of the process you went through to find the answer.

One way is to double 15 to make 30 and then multiply 30 by 4 to make 120.

Or I could multiply 8 by 10 to get 80 and then multiply 8 by 5 to get 40 and add 80 and 40 to get 120.

Or I could multiply 30 by 8 to get 240 and halve it to get 120.

Or…… there are lots of other ways which I am sure many of you have found.

But did you know that we are now producing weekly sets of mental arithmetic questions for each of Years 4, 5 and 6?

It can be surprising what children are expected to be able to do ‘in their heads’. In today’s classroom more emphasis is placed on mental methods of calculating than anything else in the maths curriculum. A range of mental methods are taught so that, for any calculation, children will have several strategies that they can use to work out the answer. The method they use will be adapted to suit the particular numbers involved.

Mental methods of answering number problems are thought of as the first resort: pencil and paper is only used if it is too complex to do ‘in your head’.

But did you know that we are now producing weekly sets of mental arithmetic questions for each of Years 4, 5 and 6?

Many of the pages on the site concentrate on mental arithmetic but we have recently embarked on some excellent mental arithmetic pages which are growing into a really useful resource as time goes by. Even better, you can begin to use them right now knowing that they will be updated week by week as the term goes on. They are the first in a series of mental arithmetic questions aimed at Years 4, 5 and 6, with 24 sets, per year group, per term.

Each page consists of two sets of ten questions, followed by an answer sheet. Each set is a full A4 page so that they can be used in several ways. If given orally the teacher/parent only needs to print the answer page as all the questions are included on this and the children can just write the answers or call them out. If the teacher/parent wants the child to read the questions then they can print out the question sheets as well. This could also be shown on a whiteboard.

The key aspect of these sets of questions is to ask children how they went about answering them – and you will be surprised and intrigued by some of the ways they reply. Why not start this week?

Go to year 4 mental arithmetic questions