Make an Expression
A challenge to use the available digits to form an expression with a value equal to the given total
This is level 1: use all of the digits 1 to 4 to form expressions with totals 1 - 12. You will be awarded a trophy if you get at least 9 correct and you do this activity online.
Try your best to answer the questions above. Type your answers into the boxes provided leaving no spaces. As you work through the exercise regularly click the "check" button. If you have any wrong answers, do your best to do corrections but if there is anything you don't understand, please ask your teacher for help.
When you have got all of the questions correct you may want to print out this page and paste it into your exercise book. If you keep your work in an ePortfolio you could take a screen shot of your answers and paste that into your Maths file.
This web site contains over a thousand free mathematical activities for teachers and pupils. Click here to go to the main page which links to all of the resources available.
Please contact me if you have any suggestions or questions.
Mathematicians are not the people who find Maths easy; they are the people who enjoy how mystifying, puzzling and hard it is. Are you a mathematician?
Comment recorded on the 10 April 'Starter of the Day' page by Mike Sendrove, Salt Grammar School, UK.:
"A really useful set of resources - thanks. Is the collection available on CD? Are solutions available?"
Comment recorded on the 19 October 'Starter of the Day' page by E Pollard, Huddersfield:
"I used this with my bottom set in year 9. To engage them I used their name and favorite football team (or pop group) instead of the school name. For homework, I asked each student to find a definition for the key words they had been given (once they had fun trying to guess the answer) and they presented their findings to the rest of the class the following day. They felt really special because the key words came from their own personal information."
There are answers to this exercise but they are available in this space to teachers, tutors and parents who have logged in to their Transum subscription on this computer.
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Learning and understanding Mathematics, at every level, requires learner engagement. Mathematics is not a spectator sport. Sometimes traditional teaching fails to actively involve students. One way to address the problem is through the use of interactive activities and this web site provides many of those. The Go Maths page is an alphabetical list of free activities designed for students in Secondary/High school.
Are you looking for something specific? An exercise to supplement the topic you are studying at school at the moment perhaps. Navigate using our Maths Map to find exercises, puzzles and Maths lesson starters grouped by topic.
If you found this activity useful don't forget to record it in your scheme of work or learning management system. The short URL, ready to be copied and pasted, is as follows:
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© Transum Mathematics :: This activity can be found online at:
Level 1 - Use all of the digits 1 to 4 to form expressions with totals 1 - 12.
Level 2 - Use all of the digits 1 to 4 to form expressions with totals 13 - 24.
Level 3 - Use all of the digits 1 to 4 to form expressions with totals 25 - 36.
Level 4 - Use all of the digits 1 to 4 to form expressions with totals 37 - 48.
Level 5 - Mixed Questions
CentExpression - Find an expression for 100 using the digits 1 to 9
One Digit Only - Find expressions for target numbers using repeated digits.
More on this topic including lesson Starters, visual aids and investigations.
The idea is to make correct mathematical expressions using all of the given digits to equal the target numbers. Click the blue buttons in the order you wish to see their values in the expressions. Press the C button to clear the expression and start again.
Here is an example of a correct expression for the target 10.
This Numberphile video of the four 4s problem might give you some ideas!
Don't wait until you have finished the exercise before you click on the 'Check' button. Click it often as you work through the questions to see if you are answering them correctly. You can double-click the 'Check' button to make it float at the bottom of your screen.