Mental math

Towards the end of MEP Year one, the book introduces lots of math activities to develop mental math. Alhamdulilah Allah has made it relatively easy for children to understand two math formulas.

1. The first formula they have learnt if a+b=c then a=c-b and b=c-a
We do lots of problem solving using this formula. So I say we have 14 apples altogether. If I have 8 how many do you have? Sumayya easily works out the answer is 6. Sometimes I say write all the possible addition sums for number X, i.e number 15. So, they write 8+7; 6+9; 15+0 etc.

2. The second formula is If a+b+c=d then a=d-(c+b) ; b= d-(a+c); and c=d-(a+b)
Again we do lots of problem solving activities where children are required to apply this formula. For example: Sumayya, Inaya and Marjaan has 15 dolls altogether. Sumayya has 4 and Inaya has 7. How many dolls does Marjaan have? To solve the problem they use the above formula a+4+7=15; a=15- (4+7); a=15-11 a=4

Or, they do maths exercises where they are asked to complete the table so the addition sum in each column would equal to 15. In general, we are still strengthening a lot of the concepts taught in MEPs YEAR 1. mashaAllah, so far I am happy with the programme and children seem to be used with the type of activities presented there.

  • They can now work with different types of tables and time tables
  • They understand the concept of measuring. We use different types of measuring units when measuring different things. Litre/ml for measuring liquid, metre/cm for measuring length, kg/lb for measuring weight and hour/minute for measuring time.
  • They did hands-on activities for measuring liquid using jars, measuring weight using kitchen scales, measuring length using rulers and problem solving activities using clock
  • Counting by 2’s, by 3’s, by 4’s and by 5’s till 100. This is really important to develop mental maths
  • Working on countdown by 2’s, by 3’s, by 4’s and by 5’s from 100 till 0. This is still a bit challenging so we keep practising
  • They can work out most addition/subtraction sums with numbers 0-20 mentally. For example, Sumayya uses no math manipulatives or fingers to work out 15+9. She counts up 9 numbers from 15 in her head and tells me the answer is 24.

I think we will start using MEP YEAR 2 soon. I have looked at some Math Workbooks at local WHSmith and online. I found them much too easy for the age group they were originally designed for. I do think MEPs is much more challenging and if not broken up by a parent can be too much for a child. Looking back I can tell Year 1 was definately difficult work for Sumayya. She started Year 1 when she just turned 5 and we were able to finish it within 6-7 months. Alhamdulillah, Allah has made it easy for her later and she actually started enjoying it more. So, we will continue with MEP YEAR 2 and do of our own supplementary materials/activities on the side inshaAllah.

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