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Trying to get young children to understand that a sum like 4×5 will give exactly the same answer if it is written the other way round is quite tricky. EC is learning is times tables at the moment.  By the end of the school year he is meant to know all 12 tables! So far we have learnt 2, 5 and 10 and are working on 3s and 4s. And he is having this exact problem. He knows that 4×3=12 but gets stuck on 3×4! To try and help him with this issue I have made a puzzle for him that, hopefully, will help him to switch sums around.

You will need:

  • Paper
  • Circular hole punch (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Wipe board pens/pencil
  • Laminator (optional)

A few weeks ago I bought a 2in diameter hole punch, which has come in very handy. However, if you don’t have then no worries, you will just need to cut out a lot of circles. I used 2 different colours of paper. Yellow for the middle of the flower and purple for the petals. Cut out a couple of middles and then about 5 petals per flower. In total I had 3 middles and 15 petals.

To make ours last longer, I put them through the laminator, this also means that I can use wipe board pens then wipe old sums off and reuse them. Again, this part is optional. If you don’t laminate them, use a pencil when writing the sums and answers.

When I came to set this up for EC I used the answers 12, 15 and 20. Then for the sums I used multiplications, additions and subtractions that equal those answers. Each flower had 5 possible answers to it.

EC actually had a few issues with this, mainly because he found it hard to switch the sums around. He also has the tendency not to look at the whole sum and misses out what symbol is being used. I got comments like “but Knita there isn’t a number 8 answer!” or “but that one does equal 12”. What he had done was miss read 5×3 as 5+3 and 2×10 as 2+10. This actually was a very important lesson for both us. For him; it was teaching him that he really needs to be careful with reading the sums. For me; I now know that this is something we need to keep practicing in.

Pin for later:

maths puzzle: Same answer different sums. Maths games for children aged 6-10