Question by Question: Mental word problems


Anytime, anywhere, anything can turn into math. In the car, take turns asking each other problems (let the kids pose problems too!). Start with concrete scenarios: "So, if we baked 100 cookies, and there were 5 of us, how many cookies would we each get?". Or if the kids are into fractions, make it 17 cookies. It is easy to ask a hard problem, as you may find out when your kids take a turn to ask you!

Try to ask problems that are a little bit hard for your kids, but not way above their level. Then, if the don't get the answer right, DON'T TELL them how to do it. Ask an easier or more concrete question instead, until they can get it right. Try to ask related questions that may help with the first one.

Multiplication Speed Tests


Free printable PDFs with 100 multiplication problems. Have the student time themselves with a stopwatch or clock with a second hand and record their time and score on each test. Two ways of scoring:
How many problems can you answer correctly in 5 minutes?
How long does it take you to finish the entire test?

See progress: using a piece of graph paper, graph the student's scores over time. If graphing the time it takes to finish the entire test, you may want to use a special color for 100% correct tests.

Down to Grade/Age: 
2nd Grade
Up thru Grade/Age: 
5th Grade

How many arithmetic problems can you answer in 60 seconds?


Free online speed test will tell you the answer. This is a free javascript math quiz from the Argonne National Laboratory. See

Drill in arithmetic is sometimes underrated, but fluency in math is just like fluency in reading. Its much easier to see the beauty in poetry when you can read easily, and it is much easier to appreciate the beauty in algebra and calculus when calculating isn't painful!

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Middle School
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