Year 6

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We can identify the function (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division) that is applied when numbers are changed as a result of a calculation

Year 6 Unit 6

What we are learning:

  • We can use our knowledge of number and calculation to identify what function (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division) is being applied during a problem
  • This helps us look at numbers in a different way and to think logically about what is happening to them
  • It helps strengthen problem solving and checking skills to see if our answers are likely to be right
  • If an answer is bigger than the numbers used in the question we must be adding or multiplying. If the answer is smaller we are likely to be subtracting or dividing. (However, we could be multiplying by a decimal fraction, e.g. 0.5 x 2 is 1 so the answer is smaller than the 2 we started with). This is the starting point for our thinking.
  • We then need to look at how much bigger or smaller the answer is to narrow down our thinking
  • If the problem has more than one step we may need to explore different choices until we find the functions that fit the answer.

Activities you can do at home:

Have a look at the Activity Sheet together

Don’t worry about starting with simple examples where you have to identify a single function in a one step problem:

Identifying two functions in a two step problem is more difficult

Good questions to ask:

What is happening to the numbers in the sequence?
By how much are they getting bigger or smaller?
Which functions is it likely NOT be?
Which functions could it be?

If your child:

Finds it easy to identify the functions in simple calculations
Use decimal numbers in the calculations so that your child has to look at the value of the numbers and cannot easily work out the calculation in their head

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)