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Helping Your Child Learn Math

Grades 3-5

What you'll need

  • License plates, paper, pencil, and calculator

What to do

  1. As you are traveling in your car, or on a bus, each person takes turns calling out a license plate number.
  2. All players try to add the numbers in their heads. Talk about what strategies were used in the mental math addition. Were the numbers added by 10's like 2+8? Were doubles like 6+6 added?
  3. Try different problems using the numbers in a license plate. For example, if you use the plate number 663M218, ask "Using the numbers on the plate, can you make 5?"
  • 5 using two numbers? "Yes, 3+2 = 5"
  • 5 using three numbers? "Yes, (3+2) x 1 = 5"
  • 5 using four numbers? "Yes, (6+3+1) ÷ 2 = 5"
  • 5 using five numbers? "Yes, (6+6+3) - (8+2) = 5"
  • 5 using six numbers? "Yes, (6+6) + (3x1) - (8+2) = 5"

Try using a calculator to play these games. See if you can solve these problems faster using the calculator.

Parent Pointer
The problem-solving and computational skills your child uses in this activity are very important to mental math skills, and they also help your child to be creative with numbers.

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Courtesy of Education Publications Center


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