The way that students are learning math in public school is much different than how you probably learned it. You learned something called the Standard Algorithm, with carrying and borrowing and lots of memorization of what 2+2 and 7×8 are. You’ve probably also heard about the new way they’re teaching math in schools, part of the so-called Common Core, and if you’re like many homeschoolers you may think the old way works just fine. And it does!
The Standard Algorithm is supposed to be taught too in later grades, but you wouldn’t know that from some of the homework that is going out. Many public school parents have expressed their frustration of not being able to help their children with their homework because it wasn’t done the “correct” way. But there is a time for “show your work” and a time for just getting the answer quickly, and it is the latter skill that is more useful and what the Standard Algorithm teaches.
The skill of basic mental arithmetic is an important one that really can be used all through life. One way you can teach your children this skill through a fun game is called math bingo. Math bingo is just like regular bingo but with a few changes.
Math bingo uses special cards with math equations in them rather than numbers. When the caller says a number, players have to find a math problem on their card that matches that answer. So if the caller says 35 and you’re playing multiplication math bingo, you’d want to look for 7×5. That spot gets covered with a marker and play proceeds until five in a row is reached. We have an example set of cards free for you in this link here.
Another variant is to flip the roles so that the caller says a math equation and the child finds a number that fits. This requires you build up a question bank and cards that are random enough and fair enough. If you’re just teaching addition from 0-10, you could double up on numbers and have a player choose one, or play on a special 3×3 grid and have two numbers missing off each card. As long as it’s possible to win in every combination equally with the questions you have, the game should work.
As long as your answers or problems can fit into one of the squares, this game can be used to teach other topics as well. Short words, fractions, colors, shapes, or anything else you can think of. You could even drill times tables using math bingo if you wanted to make a really big card! Try out math bingo as a fun way to teach mental arithmetic to your children.
FREE MATH BINGO CARDS!! Click the link below:
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