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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Maths Subject Knowledge: Understanding Numbers. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsPAULA KELLY: This week, we've explored how we deal with negative numbers and looked at BIDMAS, the rule that helps us to perform all calculations consistently.

Skip to 0 minutes and 16 secondsMICHAEL ANDERSON: Remember to complete this week's questions and investigate our suggested teacher resources for the week.

Skip to 0 minutes and 21 secondsPAULA KELLY: We'll leave you this week with a challenge. Using any operation, can you make the numbers 1 to 30 using only four 4's. We've started you off with our suggestion for 1. So 1 equals 4 divided by 4, multiplied by 4, divided by 4. You must include all four 4's. Can you make any unusual suggestions? Are there any numbers that are impossible? Share your discoveries below.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsMICHAEL ANDERSON: Join us next week for the final week of the course, which is all about number patterns, how they are generated, and how we can describe them mathematically.

Summary: negative numbers and exact answers

As a result of this week’s work you should be feeling more confident when confronted by negative numbers and should be able to explain why the product of two negative numbers results in a positive number. You should also be confident that you can perform calculations in the appropriate order and express exact numbers.

Remember to complete this week’s questions and investigate our suggested teaching resources for the week.


As introduced in the video, using any operation, make the numbers 1-30 using only four fours? You must include all four fours.

For example \(1 = 4 \div 4 \times 4 \div 4\).

Week four is all about number patterns, how they are generated and how we describe them mathematically.

Weekly answers and reflection

As last week, note on your reflection grid (Word doc) if you have used any of these approaches with your students, or log your learning in the course.

Answers for the weekly problem sheet questions are available under the Downloads link at the bottom of this step. Review your answers and if you got some wrong, review the steps and try again.

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This video is from the free online course:

Maths Subject Knowledge: Understanding Numbers

National STEM Learning Centre