We must have heard stories of how accomplished and celebrated ‘Shakuntala Devi’ was for her astonishing ability to perform mental math problems and present answers even faster than it could be calculated on a calculator. Shakuntala was indeed a ‘Human Calculator’ and left a mark of legacy behind, which we proudly share with our children today!
What Is Mental Math?
Mental math is practicing math calculations & computing answers in your head, without the use of paper, a calculator, or computer. It is basically manipulating numbers in your mind and arriving at an answer verbally. Without even us realizing it, we do mental math calculations very often through the day. For example; calculating the amount of money as change you are to receive from the shopkeeper against the note you have given, is a good example of mental math function. Now that we are so dependent on our phones & iPads, that our kids have stopped exploring the power of their minds and instead rely on tools for doing even simple day-to-day calculations. However, we need to change this habit, as there are countless benefits to brain development of children who are able to practice math calculations mentally.
Making Children a Pro at Mental Math Can Help In:
#1 Boosting Brain Development
Being able to calculate & crunch numbers requires remembering formulae and applying them correctly in the appropriate situation. That requires good memory power & the ability to store information & retain it whenever required. Only when you use this superpower of mental application, will your brain power boost and it will benefit the child by being able to remember more & more details and concepts taught at school.
#2 Improves Concentration
The average concentration of a 13-year-old adolescent is only about 39 minutes. That means getting distracted is inevitable, especially when we have access to smart phones & social media, focusing on what is being taught in class takes a back seat. Mental math is a great tool for training the mind to focus on things that are important. Mental math is not just about getting the calculation right, it is a means to train the brain to filter out the chaos happening around us, and instead calmly draw more attention to more important tasks like; studying, becoming a better person, developing personality, and inculcating good habits.
#3 Enhances Confidence
As a beginner you would start by solving addition sums as simple as; 150 + 75 and be applauded for the right answer. With progress, the teacher increases the difficulty level of sums shot at the student. Now students are asked to mentally decipher; what is 3 (x-7), when x = 12? Getting to solve complex problems mentally, increases the confidence in oneself manifold. Confident individuals do well in life and they are not afraid of making mistakes, learning from them, & keep progressing in lives.
#4 Better Marks In Exams
A sharper mind, fetches better grades in exams! Students are able to perform well in most subjects, as their brain is now trained to withhold vast amounts of information and think quickly, thanks to constant practice of mental math activities. Not only with numbers, students are able to show good progress in other subjects, and overall push themselves to achieve excellence.
#5 Improves Mental Health
Science has proved that memory-based math activities stimulate a region within the brain called as dorsolateral prefrontal cortex which is linked to anxiety & depression. So, to keep that area of the mind active, it is vital to exercise or use it often. What better way to work your mind than to challenge It with calculations! Regular brain stimulation therefore leads to improvement in emotions and contributes to the child’s improved mental health.