By Year 6 children should be familiar with the idea of having rules to decide in what order mathematical operations are carried out.
In its simplest form this can be described as BODMAS
- First do the operations that are in brackets.
- Then do any divisions.
- Thirdly do any multiplications
Lastly, do any additions and subtractions
(A similar acronym is BIDMAS, often used in primary schools) which stands for Brackets, Indices, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction.
Brackets are a great help in deciding what order to carry out calculations. The rule is easy: solve the brackets first!
(5 x 2) + (8 – 4) = 10 + 4 = 14
Watch out especially if checking answers on a calculator as some basic calculators will carry out the calculation in the order you enter it whilst others, including scientific calculators, will follow the rules of BODMAS.