Every math teacher knows that basic math fact fluency is critical to student success in any math procedure involving computation. The goal I have for my students is that they know the basic math facts as well as they know the letters of the alphabet.
To keep my students sharp, we regularly solve oral mixed combinations mentally. A mixed combination involves performing the basic operations on a set of given numbers. Unlike written problems which are solved using the order of operations, oral mixed combinations are solved performing each operation in the sequence it is given.
Here’s an example of a Level One with Four Operations combination:
6 x 5 + 6 ÷ 4 - 2 = ?
The solution goes like this: 6 x 5 = 30; 30 + 6 = 36; 36 ÷ 4 = 9; and 9 – 2 = 7
As the problem is given, the students keep a running answer in their head and perform the next operation on that current answer. As soon as the students hear the word “equals”, they present their final answer. Their answer can be stated orally or written on paper or on a personal white board.
Again, the purpose of this activity is to promote fact fluency. Unlike using the order of operations when evaluating written expressions, students have to solve mixed combinations by performing each operation as it comes because they have no idea what operation might be coming down the line.
A number of years ago my 6th grade math class was challenged by a team of 7th grade math classes to a mental math competition involving mixed combinations.
Download this resource and enjoy the highlights of that competition. Share it with your students to show them what is possible when one knows the basic math facts as well as he or she knows the letters of the alphabet.
The following Mental Math with Mixed Combinations resources are available at my store:
Link-Basic Math Fact Fluency with Mixed Combinations – Level One with Two Operations
Link-Basic Math Fact Fluency with Mixed Combinations – Level One with Three Operations
Link-Basic Math Fact Fluency with Mixed Combinations – Level One with Four Operations
Link-Basic Math Fact Fluency with Mixed Combinations – Level One with Five Operations
Follow me on TPT so that you can be notified as soon as Level Two (multiplication facts up to the twelves) and Level Three (including exponents and square roots) are available.