Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Last time I mentioned that there are many things that I like about maths, and nobody can complain at your 1+1=2. If you had 1+2+3=6 there are different ways of getting the right answer and all can be good ways. You could add 1+2 first or you may go for the 2+3. It doesn't really matter in this case but with more complicated calculations there may be easier ways to get the right answer.

Have you watched Countdown and seen how the exact number can be achieved in a few ways. Very often the two contestants will say they have worked out the result in exactly the same way, but it doesn't have to be the case.

Take a simple example for multiplication. Take the numbers 2, 3, and 4. If you work out 2 x 3 you get 6. Then multiply it by 4 and you get 24. You can also multiply the 3 and the 4 to make 12, then multiply by the 2 and you end up with 24. It works with multiplication and with division. Take the same numbers but this time divide by 2. 3 x 4 divided by 2 is 6 and this is exactly the same as 3 divided by 2 (1.5) x 4=6, or even 3 x (4 divided by 2)2 =6.

Maths does get more complicated than this but it is really important to get the basics right so that you can understand the more difficult techniques.

That sums it up.

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