Each red box represents a missing operation (plus, minus, times or divide).
Can you work out what they are?

 (21 ❑ 35) ❑ 39 = 17 35 ❑ (36 ❑ 24) = 30240 (30 ❑ 24) ❑ 26 = 18720 (35 ❑ 29) ❑ (24 ❑ 26) = 50750

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Topics: Starter | Arithmetic

• Dave Loboda, St John's Middle School, Bromsgrove
•
• Have used a number of your starters and found them to be very useful and enjoyable. We used the problem for 9 December today and one of the pupils pointed out what he felt was an error in the solution.

You gave 24 + (39 + 36) x 36 = 3564 it was pointed out that, using BIDMAS strictly, you should complete the brackets first, then multiply by 36 before adding the 24 at the start which will give 2724

Thank you
• Transum,
•
• Thanks Dave. It is very good of you to take time to point out the error. The numbers and operations in this starter are generated randomly each time the page is refreshed. The combination of randomly generated operations you came across was handled incorrectly by the software. The problem has now hopefully been solved.
• Franziska Fisken, Telford
•
• I used this activity and found it a useful intro to BIDMAS /BODMAS!
• Liz Richards, Lambeth College
•
• When will Maths teachers realise that bidmas/bodmas does not always work?
• Nairn Spink, High School Of Dundee
•
• Hello transum,the class enjoyed this starter.we will definetly come back and do more activities. We were very happy when we got the answers.
• Mary Tonti, Cleveland, OH
•
• This is the second time to your site. I am getting ready to go back to school soon and althought we are not in school right now, I can see how this would get the kids to experiment with the different operations.
• Paul Harris, Chalfont St Peter
•
• Liz, coming at this from a Mathematician AND a maths teacher, what do you mean?
BIDMAS/BODMAS is not some phrase that Maths teachers have invented to try and answer questions in Maths, it is the order of operations which happens, dictated by the constructs on which Mathematics is built. Brackets are computed first, then powers, then Multiplication/Division, computed in order of encounter from left to right, and finally Addition/Subtraction from left to right. I am always open to being wrong but as far as I know, BIDMAS is always going to hold as it is principle which underpins computation. Can you provide a counter example?
• M Shepherd, The St Lawrence Academy
•
• When will people realise that BODMAS / BIDMAS doesn't work?
(comment from previous post)
Yes it does, but you don't write it as six consecutive letters, you write B then O then D on top of M and then A on top of S.
This reminds classes that divide & multiply and add & subtract happen simultaneously, and should therefore be done in the order they appear.
This avoids the confusion of 10 - 3 + 2 equaling 5 instead of 9, for example.
Anyone still teaching BODMAS as a six letter word should think on this...
• Vikram,
•
• This really helped me in my learning!!!

How did you use this starter? Can you suggest how teachers could present or develop this resource? Do you have any comments? It is always useful to receive feedback and helps make this free resource even more useful for Maths teachers anywhere in the world.

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This starter has scored a mean of 3.1 out of 5 based on 109 votes.

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Note to teacher: Doing this activity once with a class helps students develop strategies. It is only when they do this activity a second time that they will have the opportunity to practise those strategies. That is when the learning is consolidated. Click the button above to regenerate another version of this starter from random numbers.

There is a printable worksheet to go with this activity.

Christmas Present Ideas

It is often very difficult choosing Christmas presents for family and friends but so here are some seasonal, mathematics-related gifts chosen and recommended by Transum Mathematics.

## Equate board game

Here's a great board game that will give any family with school-aged kids hours of worthwhile fun. Christmas is a time for board games but this one will still be useful at any time of year. Games can be adapted to suit many levels of Mathematical ability.

For Maths tutors working with just one or small groups of pupils this game has proved to be an excellent activity for a tutorial. Deciding on the best moves can spark pertinent discussions about mathematical concepts.

Equate looks a bit like Scrabble--for aspiring mathematicians, that is. Designed by a real mathematician, it works like this: You put down tiles on a board and make points by correctly completing simple equations. Your nine tiles include both numbers and mathematical symbols; you can add on to previous plays both vertically and horizontally. more...

## How Not To Be Wrong

The maths we learn in school can seem like an abstract set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In fact, Jordan Ellenberg shows us, maths touches on everything we do, and a little mathematical knowledge reveals the hidden structures that lie beneath the world's messy and chaotic surface. In How Not to be Wrong, Ellenberg explores the mathematician's method of analyzing life, from the everyday to the cosmic, showing us which numbers to defend, which ones to ignore, and when to change the equation entirely. Along the way, he explains calculus in a single page, describes Gödel's theorem using only one-syllable words, and reveals how early you actually need to get to the airport.

What more could the inquisitive adult want for Christmas? This book makes a cosy, interesting read in front of the fire on those cold winter evenings. more...

## Graphic Display Calculator

This handheld device and companion software are designed to generate opportunities for classroom exploration and to promote greater understanding of core concepts in the mathematics and science classroom. TI-Nspire technology has been developed through sound classroom research which shows that "linked multiple representation are crucial in development of conceptual understanding and it is feasible only through use of a technology such as TI-Nspire, which provides simultaneous, dynamically linked representations of graphs, equations, data, and verbal explanations, such that a change in one representation is immediately reflected in the others.

For the young people in your life it is a great investment. Bought as a Christmas present but useful for many years to come as the young person turns into an A-level candidate then works their way through university. more...

The analytics show that more and more people are accessing Transum Mathematics via an iPad as it is so portable and responsive. The iPad has so many other uses in addition to solving Transum's puzzles and challenges and it would make an excellent Christmas gift for anyone.

You have to hold iPad Air to believe it. It’s just 7.5 millimeters thin and weighs just one pound. The stunning Retina display sits inside thinner bezels, so all you see is your content. And an incredible amount of power lies inside the sleek enclosure. So you can do so much more. With so much less. more...

## Aristotle's Number Puzzle

It’s a bit of a tradition to give puzzles as Christmas Gifts to nieces and nephews. This puzzle is ideal for the keen puzzle solver who would like a challenge that will continue over the festive period (at least!).

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The films in this ambitious series offer clear, accessible explanations of important mathematical ideas but are also packed with engaging anecdotes, fascinating biographical details, and pivotal episodes in the lives of the great mathematicians. Engaging, enlightening and entertaining, the series gives viewers new and often surprising insights into the central importance of mathematics, establishing this discipline to be one of humanity s greatest cultural achievements. This DVD contains all four programmes from the BBC series.

Marcus du Sautoy's wonderful programmes make a perfect Christmas gift more...

## Christmas Maths

This book provides a wealth of fun activities with a Christmas theme. Each photocopiable worksheet is matched to the Numeracy Strategy and compatible with the Scottish 5-14 Guidelines. This series is designed for busy teachers in the late Autumn term who are desperate for materials that are relevant and interesting and that can be completed with minimun supervision.

All the activities are suitable for use by class teachers, supply teachers, SEN teachers and classroom assistants and cover topics such as 'How many partridges did the true love give all together?' and 'Filling a sleigh with presents by rolling a dice!'. Children will have lots of fun working through the Christmas Maths themes but also gain valuable skills along the way.

A great source of ideas and another reasonably priced stocking filler. more...

Click the images above to see all the details of these gift ideas and to buy them online.

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## Have you read Craig's book yet?

Craig Barton must surely be the voice of Mathematics teachers in the UK. His wonderful podcasts interviewing the industry experts have culminated in this wonderful book. As Craig says: "I genuinely believe I have never taught mathematics better, and my students have never learned more. I just wish I had known all of this twelve years ago..." more...

"How I wish I'd taught Maths" is an extraordinary and important book. Part guide to research, part memoir, part survival handbook, it’s a wonderfully accessible guide to the latest research on teaching mathematics, presented in a disarmingly honest and readable way. I know of no other book that presents as much usable research evidence on the dos and don’ts of mathematics teaching in such a clear and practical way. No matter how long you have been doing it, if you teach mathematics—from primary school to university—this book is for you." Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment, UCL.

## Casio Classwiz Calculator

There is currently a lot of talk about this new calculator being the best in its price range for use in the Maths classroom. The new ClassWiz features a high-resolution display making it easier to view numerical formulas and symbols but it isn't a graphical calculator as such (it has the capacity to draw graphs on your smart phone or tablet, via a scannable QR code and an app).

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This calculator has a high-performance processor and twice the memory of previous models ensuring speedy operation and superior computational power.more...

 Teacher, do your students have access to computers?Do they have iPads or Laptops in Lessons? Whether your students each have a TabletPC, a Surface or a Mac, this activity lends itself to eLearning (Engaged Learning).

Transum.org/go/?Start=December9

Here is the URL which will take them to a related student activity.

Transum.org/go/?to=BIDMAS

BIDMAS is an acronym reminding students of the order of operation used when evaluating expressions involving a number of different operations. The letters of BIDMAS stand for:

• Brackets,
• Indicies,
• Division,
• Multiplication,