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BODMAS: The bad maths rule...

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Posted On: 21 / Jul / 2014 Hits: 3653 Comment: 0

BODMAS rule is a popular concept taught to children age 9 - 11 in schools. Here is a way to simplify the understanding of the complex operations and their order.

The Bodmas rule which deals with the order in which the operations must be performed on numbers is a very important subject to be taught to the children. Normally, after children have learnt all four main operations, addition, subtraction, division and multiplication, this is the rule that is taught. BODMAS is the acronym for Brackets, of, Division, Multiplication, Addition and Subtraction.

This is to easily remind the children that opening brackets precedes all other operations and addition and subtraction has to be performed last. Seems too simple. Deceptively simple.

This is generally taught to the 10 -11 year old children. Again for small children to suddenly manipulate the mathematical sentences with so many operations when they have been used to doing just addition or multiplication individually or maybe just two operations becomes very difficult.

Here again, story telling reduces some of the stress the child faces.  Consider a story like this: Jessica bought a pencil box for Rs.30 and got a discount for Rs.5. How much did she pay for the pencil box. Easy 30 – 5 = Rs.25

Now she got a pencil box for Rs.25 and a sketch pen set for Rs.50. How much did she spend on both? Easy 25 + 50 = Rs.75

Jessica wanted to buy a pencil box and a set of sketch pens for 5 of her frineds for her birthday. How much would she spend? Now that is 25 + 50 for 1 friend and the sum multiplied by 5 for 5 friends.

If she wrote 25 + 50 x 5… there is a danger of only considering the sketch pen set for 5 friends. Hence she needs to ensure that both are multiplied by 5. This brings out the importance of the bracket. (25 + 50) x 5 = 75 x 5 = 375

Hence it is important to ask children to create their own mathematical sentences using brackets and operations before getting them to solve it. This enables the child to understand why we use brackets, why so many operations appear in one sentence – And even solve it correctly!


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