# Double Trouble!

I have been working on the automatic recall of “doubles” as part of my mental maths programme.  Mental maths?! It sounds a bit  crazy, doesn’t it ?  So what is mental maths and why teach it?

Children ultimately need to be able to work out sums in their heads. This is a slow and gradual process which sees them moving from working out sums in a concrete sense,  or with counters, to adding up in their heads.  This process has 3 distinct stages 1)  using counters to create and add up a sum 2) using a number line to add up a sum 3) adding up a sum in your head.  You cannot bypass  or hurry any of these stages. Children need to have grasped a stage completely before you even contemplate moving to the next. I cannot stress how important this is!

A full and deep sense of what number is must be allowed to develop using counters. This can take longer for some children than others. Trust me, you move on at your peril. You will end up with a child who cannot see when things do not add up eg that 2 +5 could not possibly equals 1. Children with a good sense of number will see their mistakes and fix them. They can fix them because they understand. It is not some mechanical, robotic operation of moving mindlessly along a number line. Sorry, rant over! I have just seen so many children moved on too quickly and with terrible consequences.

Once a child completely understands number and number lines then you can encourage “mental maths” by learning tables, playing games, explaining the laws of number and teaching visualization strategies.

We learned our doubles as far as 12 by singing the little tune below. It isn’t amazing! It just “happened” when trying to liven up a lesson and now it’s too late to jazz it up any!! I have included it anyway. My class seem to like it and they are certainly A LOT quicker at remembering doubles 🙂

I wanted to find a board game that would make practicing a little more fun and interactive. I drew a blank after trawling the internet. Well, you know what they say if you want something… I did it myself ;). I “kid tested” this game today and it got thumbs up. They would love to play it again. Success! It was pretty cute to hear some of them quietly humming the song to figure out what number to colour. It just makes it all worthwhile…

I hope that your child/class enjoys it too. All you need is 2 dice and some crayons.

###### Clipart by DJInkers

What do you think? Would you like more maths games? Have you any questions on how to help your child with maths? I love to hear your comments and questions!

If you would like to learn how to help your child to move from Step 1 (counters) to Step 2 ( number line) click on this link to my Cute Number Line post.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂