BIDMAS order of operations- Four Fours, Bodge Ups and Quiz Quiz Swap

Four Fours

Can you make statements equal to all the numbers 0 to 20 by using just four fours? Brackets, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction are allowed for starters. When they start getting stuck you can introduce other operators such as square roots, factorial etc. Can you make all the numbers up to 100?

My year 7s had a good go at it this week, writing their answers collectively on the board:


Four Fours investigation- the class really got into this and refused to go to break at the end of the lesson because we hadn’t got one for 19!

I made a worksheet for the investigation that you can download here (Microsoft Word).

BIDMAS Bodge Ups

To get pupils evaluating answers to BIDMAS statements you can give them some incorrect ones based on common misconceptions and get them to identify the mistakes and correcting them. Here is a booklet I made (in Microsoft Word) that covers 5 common BIDMAS misconceptions. The last one is to get across the importance of showing workings otherwise nobody knows what you have done wrong…

BIDMAS Quiz Quiz Swap

This is a nice activity to promote focussed learning discussion in a BIDMAS lesson. Download the Microsoft Word file here and print and cut out the cards. Give each pupil one of the cards. They then quiz each other with the questions on their cards, making sure they cover the answer at the bottom of their card with their hand when they ask the question. The answers are included so they can then know if they need to have discussion if they get it wrong. The idea is that if they got the answer wrong they have a discussion between the two of them to understand why it was wrong. This leads on nicely from the BIDMAS Bodge Ups activity where they spent time identifying and correcting errors. After they have answered the questions on each other’s cards and had a learning conversation if they got them wrong, they swap cards and go find another person to quiz quiz swap with. The idea is that learning travels around the room from pupil to pupil.

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7 Responses

  1. Tom Whittaker says:

    Four Fours is a great idea – it worked really well with my year 7s. They loved coming up to the board to write up ones they had found.
    Thank you for sharing all these ideas!

  2. Very useful thanks! Your website is great, thanks for making so many resources available to all of us who teach maths.

    Steve Williams

  3. Claire Brown says:

    I gave this investigation to my Year 4/5/6 children who are level 5/6 and they absolutely loved it! There was no giving up until every answer had been found. Thanks for all your great ideas.

  4. Emily says:

    this was extremely helpful but does anyone have the answer to 21 using four 4’s???

  1. 17/02/2013

    […] BIDMAS order of operations- Four Fours, Bodge Ups and Quiz Quiz Swap | Great Maths Teaching Ideas. […]

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