Maths - four rules of number

This page is to help parents to follow all the procedures used in schools today to ensure that children have a good understanding and firm grasp of the Four Rules of Number: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division. All the mathematical work that children do in their school days will be based on these four rules of number. Visual aids such as counters, beads, etc. should be used early on so that your child has a visual concept too. It is essential that children practise and understand these procedures. Practical learning can be enjoyed  when out and about....try counting the number of trees in the park, pick chestnuts or acorns and play a counting game. As learning progresses it will be a good idea to choose appropriate worksheets at home and enjoy working on these together.

This work would usually be done in Early Years and continued in KS1. It can be useful to parents to find a stage in the processes which have been taught to your child in school and start again at a slightly easier paper to increase confidence. The use of physical objects such as mentioned above will help so that your child can relate the visual examples with the numbers. The four worksheets at the top of each section give a progression in teaching.


Be sure that your child can count to 10 before starting addition. It is then beneficial to start with simple sums such as 1 + 2 = 3 and encourage your child to use blocks/ beads/ counters etc.  as a visual aid to reinforce the new learning. There are papers below which will help you and your child to enjoy adding numbers.
Addition paper 1 KS1
Addition paper 2 KS1
Addition paper 3 KS2
Addition paper 4 KS2
Worksheet 1 addition tell a story
Worksheet 2 addition tell a story
Worksheet 3 addition tell a story
Addition using a number line
Addition using a number line 2
Horizontal addition 1
Horizontal addition 2
Addition and subtraction KS1
Horizontal addition 4
Horizontal addition learning to add
Adding with counters 1
Adding with counters 2
Adding with counters 3
Horizontal addition 5
Vertical addition set 2 1
Vertical addition 1-4
Vertical addition set 2 2
Vertical addition set 2 3
Vertical addition set 2 4
Vertical addition 2
Vertical addition 3
Vertical addition 4
Vertical addition 5
Tens and units 2 2
Tens and units 2 3
Tens and units 2 4
Adding multiples of 5
Rabbit counting
Tens and units 4
Tens and units 5
Number bonds
Worksheets and games on number bonds
HTU addition paper 1
HTU addition paper 2
HTU addition paper 3
HTU addition paper 4
Add and subtract balloons
Red Riding Hood addition
Sums and pictures
Four rules of number: written methods
HTU addition 4 rows paper 1
HTU addition 4 rows paper 2
HTU addition 4 rows paper 3
HTU addition 4 rows paper 4
HTU addition paper 6
HTU addition paper 5
Four digit addition paper 6
HTU addition subtraction paper 5
Horizontal addition 3
Addition and subtraction Year 1 no 1


Children do need to have a firm understanding of addition and the order of numbers before starting subtraction. As in addition, it is good to have a visual aid and a bar of chocolate can help.......!
Here are 4 pieces of chocolate take away 1 many are left?   Then write the sum for the child as a visual reinforcement   4 - 1 = 3. This procedure should be done in a practical manner before committing any numbers to paper. Writing the sum is the final stage of the learning curve.

How subtraction is taught in school

Try these subtractions KS1
Subtraction EYFS/KS1
Subtraction ideas for Year 2
Decomposition method with zeros KS2
Subtraction with pictures 2
Subtraction worksheet 4
Horizontal subtraction
Horizontal subtraction 1
Horizontal subtraction 2
Horizontal subtraction 3
Horizontal subtraction 4
Horizontal subtraction 1-4
Subtraction less than 10 (1)
Subtraction less than 10 (2)
Subtraction less than 10 (3)
Subtraction less than 10 (4)
Subtraction less than 10 (5)
Vertical subtraction 1
Vertical subtraction 2
Vertical subtraction 3
Vertical subtraction 4
Vertical subtraction 5
Vertical subtraction 2 1
Vertical subtraction 2 2
Vertical subtraction 2 4
Vertical subtraction 1-4
Decomposition subtraction 1
Decomposition subtraction 2
Decomposition subtraction 3
Decomposition subtraction 4
Decomposition subtraction 1-4
Introduction to decomposition
Mixed addition & subtraction 1
Mixed addition & subtraction 2
Mixed addition & subtraction 3
Mixed addition & subtraction 4
Mixed addition & subtraction 1-4
Mixed addition and subtraction worksheet
Ways to help with mental subtraction
Mixed worksheet 2
Subtraction with four digits paper 5
Four digit subtraction
Try these subtractions
Subtraction ideas for Year 2
Mixed worksheet 3
Mixed worksheet 4
Mixed worksheet 5
Decomposition method using zeros 2
Test your subtraction


How to teach multiplication

Multiplication is  taught after a pupil has a firm grasp of the principles of addition. Pupils do need to learn their multiplication tables by heart as this will  enable them to work at speed and then be able to progress to more involved maths problems. It is always useful to have visual aids to show the  progress of the tables. Pictures have been in the worksheets as a visual illustration and to establish the concept.

Multiplication paper 1 KS2
Multiplication paper 2 KS2
Multiplication paper 3 KS3
Multiplication paper 4 KS3
Multiplication 1-4
Starting multiplication
Blank multiplication square
Table testing square
Multiplication 2
Multiplication 3
Now try these-multiplication 4
Introducing multiplication 1
Multiplication for Year 2
Multiplication for Year 3
Multiplication for Year 4
HTU multiplication paper 1
HTU multiplication paper 2
HTU multiplication paper 3
HTU multiplication paper 4
Find the lowest common multiple 4
Find the lowest common multiple 3
Find the lowest common multiple 2
Find the lowest common multiple 1
Multiplication of four digit numbers
Multiplication of HTU by numbers up to 9
Multiplication of 4 digit by 2 digit numbers
Worksheet on grid multiplication
Long multiplication using partitioning
Worksheet for traditional multiplication

It is essential that all children learn and understand their tables. Once children have a thorough understanding of the number system they will understand that 2 x 2 = 4. It helps to have a visual picture so using fruit, blocks, sweets or marbles will reinforce understanding and establish the concept involved. 

Times tables can be found on the Times tables page.


Division is the concept of sharing numbers. If we have 12 currant buns and 4 people how many buns will each person receive? It is easier for children to understand and learn to divide if they use counters/beads/ buns/shells etc. to actually physically work out the question. In the worksheets below you will find a progression of papers which will establish the concept and understanding of division. 

How division is taught in school

Division paper 1 KS1
Division paper 2 KS2
Division paper 3 KS3
Division paper 4 KS3
Division sums with pictures
Division-simple division using tables
Division 2
Division by 10
Division sums with counters
Worksheet sharing and grouping-division
Division and multiplication worksheet 4
Division 3-counters
Division 1-4
Division using tables
How division is taught in school
Division sums with counters 2
HTU long division paper 1
HTU long division paper 2
HTU long division paper 3
HTU long division paper 4
Division worksheet 7 x3
Long multiplication and division
Multiplication & division problems
Division of single divisors
Division of numbers uo to 144
Division questions for Year 3
Division questions for Year 4

Rules of number

The order of operations means calculating addition, subtraction, squaring in the correct order.. It is easier to remember by the word BODMAS. This stands for Brackets first, Orders which are powers or Square roots. Then Division and Multiplication and finally Addition and Subtraction. Here is an example:
Work out  3 +6 x 2......multiplication before addition: 6 x 2 = 12 then 3 +12=15

or (3 +6) x 2 ......In this case Brackets first 9 x 2 = 18. Now try the questions below:

Order of operations paper 1
Order of operations paper 2
Order of operations paper 3
Order of operations paper 4
How to help with symbols & formulae
Worksheet using symbols and formulae
How to help with number patterns KS3
Worksheet number patterns
Explaining numbers
Round my number please
Worksheet on rounding numbers
Number skills
Rounding and ordering numbers
Stamp costs
Sum puzzles


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