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We can explain each step when we write addition calculations in columns using the compact method

Year 5 Unit 4a

What we are learning:

We are now using the compact method for addition. E.g. 276 + 489


It is important that children have a sound understanding of place value before using this method and can use the value of the digits to line them up in columns correctly.

With the expanded method, we refer to the numbers themselves so we would say ‘seventy add eighty’ when adding the tens column in the example above. In the compact method, we refer to the digits as ‘seven add eight’, even though we know that they represent tens and have the value of 70 and 80

We can extend this to numbers with four digits, like 3456+ 2345
We would set the calculation out like this:

Even if we have five digit numbers the layout and the addition is the same:

Activities you can do at home:

Use the compact method to complete the activity sheet.

Good questions to ask:

As you are doing this calculation, can you explain how you are doing it?
Can you tell me each stage out loud as you do it?
What tips would you give to someone to help with the compact method?
Which do you find easier, the expanded method or the compact method?

If your child:

Can complete the compact method but cannot explain it
Try setting out the same addition in the expanded method and the compact method side by side. Complete both and talk about how they compare. Use the links to explain what is happening in the compact method.

Extension Activity

Please use this activity when you think your child understands the unit of work. It will deepen and extend your child’s understanding of this unit.


Extension activity (PDF)

Extension activity answers (PDF)