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Cool Math Tricks To Make Remembering Math Easy

Updated on March 27, 2014

Make Math Simple

Anything to help explain and remember math is a bonus. Here are few tricks I've used to help my kids understand math concepts that they've had trouble getting their heads around.

Often it's just like flicking a switch ... once the basic idea is understood, the rest comes easily.

Math is fun once you "get it"!

'Greater Than' & 'Less Than' Made Easy

The 'greater than' symbol is this >

The 'less than' symbol is this <

There is a simple way to always get them right, and to quickly solve problems ...

The large part of the symbol always faces the larger number.
The small, pointy part of the symbol always faces the smaller number.


2 > 1 Two is greater than one. Note that the large part of the symbol faces the larger number.

1 < 2 One is less than two. The large part of the symbol still faces the larger number.

So imagine if we asked, for example, if 650 < 289 is true or false.

Is the large part of the symbol facing the larger number? No, 650 is the larger number, so it isn't. Therefore, the statement is false. You don't even have to remember if that symbol means greater than or less than. Simple!

Tip: If you ever need to remember which symbol is which, just imagine writing a statement using two numbers you know, like 1 and 2 as above. Then you can easily and quickly work out the correct symbol.

Understanding the Difference

In math, we find the difference between two numbers by subtracting (taking away) the lower number from the higher number.

For example 9 - 3 = 6. The difference between 9 and 3 is 6.

This drawing makes it easier to understand and remember difference.


Odds & Evens - How to Remember

Some children have a mental block when it comes to remembering which numbers are odd and which are even.

Odd numbers end in 1, 3, 5, 7 & 9
Even numbers end in 2, 4, 6, 8 & 0

An easy way of remembering is to count the letters in the words ODD and EVEN.

ODD has 3 letters - an odd number

EVEN has 4 letters - an even number

Once a child remembers that, the rest can easily be worked out.

One cake, cut into quarters, with one quarter missing.  1/4 means 1 divided by 4.
One cake, cut into quarters, with one quarter missing. 1/4 means 1 divided by 4. | Source

Fractions - What They Really Mean

The line of a fraction means "divided by".

One half is written like this: ½

... or like this:


One half means 1 divided by 2.

All fractions mean this, no matter what number is at the top or at the bottom.

498 is exactly the same as saying 364 divided by 498.

Once this is seen, understanding fractions is a whole lot easier!

Get Your Head Around Algebra Symbols

So many people think algebra is confusing because they are missing out on understanding one basic fact ...

All the complicated symbols in algebra should not worry anyone!!

The only reason they are there is to hold a place for an answer we don't know yet.

We could just write a question mark and it would mean the same thing.

1 + 2 = ?

? = 3 ... The answer is 3.

1 + 2 = a

a = 3 ... The answer is 3. It's the same as when we used the question mark.

The great thing is that using algebra is actually easier than using question marks.

For ? + ? = 4 we might think that the answer could be 1 + 3, 3 + 1 or 2 + 2.

For a + a = 4 'a' ALWAYS means the same number in one equation, so a = 2 is the only answer.

When thinking of algebra symbols in this way, suddenly it makes a whole lot more sense!

Understanding The Basics

The above are just five examples of simple tricks to help understand and remember parts of math often missed by students.

If we're missing a basic understanding, of course as math gets more detailed, it will seem hard. Math is a language for working out things. It starts with simple ideas, and then gets more complicated, based on these simple ideas.

If you're having trouble with any part of math, the best cool math trick is to go back and see where it starts to get hard. You'll probably find that there is some step that you haven't quite understood. Find out what it is, get your head around it, and math becomes a lot easier!!


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