Year 6

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We can solve problems involving more than one step

We can explain the reason for our choice of method and say whether we think it was effective

Year 6 Unit 13

What we are learning:

A multi-step problem is one that will require more than one calculation to find the answer. For example, I went shopping with a £20 note and bought 3 hats costing £4.50 each.
How much change would I receive? This is a multi-step problem requiring the total cost of the items to be calculated (using multiplication or repeated addition) before being able to calculate how much change (using subtraction).

Your child will firstly need to identify the operation (+ – x ÷) and then what calculation(s) they need to do in order to solve the problem.

Encourage children to create own problems as this will help them to solve problems as they are forced to think of the everyday language we use

Brackets tell us to do that part of the calculation first


Activities you can do at home:

I went shopping with a £20 note and bought 3 hats costing £4.50 each.
How much change would I receive?
Discuss this with your child. Ask What is this question asking you to work out?
Estimate – About how much change will I receive? How did you work that out? What will you do first and why?

Ask your child to create a problem to match each this multi-step calculation:
£50 – (£2.99 x 5) Remember that you always do the calculation in brackets first. In this case you multiply £2.99 x 3 and then take the answer away from £50.

Present children with a multi-step problem e.g. when shopping when comparing special offers – ask them how they will calculate the answer – mental, written or calculator. Ask Was it the best way? Why? Why not?

Good questions to ask:

How many steps are there to solve this problem?
Can you explain what they are?
Which part do you have to do first?
Which facts and information will you use?
Why do you have to do this first?
What will you do in the second step?
Which facts and information will you use?

If your child:

Finds it difficult to identify the steps required to solve a problem
Simplify the problem and the numbers in it so that your child can focus on explaining their method. E.g. if I buy three sweets at 5p each how much change do I get from 50p? Once you have established the approach together, make the numbers more challenging.
Sees problem solving methods quickly.
Offer more complex problems where the aim is to explain HOW you would solve them, but don’t go on to actually solve them unless you want to.

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)