Nakamaye, Michael. (2020). One, Two, Three, Four: Building Numbers with Four Operations. In S. Bowen (Ed.), Math Circle Activity Database. American Institute of Mathematics. https://mathcircles.org/activity/building-numbers-with-four-operations

One, Two, Three, Four: Building Numbers with Four Operations

Math Circles:
What numbers can you make with 1, 2, 3, and 4, using the operations of addition, subtraction, and multiplication? Work on these problems builds arithmetic fluency and provides opportunities to identify patterns, develop and defend arguments, and create conjectures. This investigation also highlights how thin the boundary is between a fun warm-up activity for fifth graders and deep questions investigated by research mathematicians!

Activity Guide

This guide looks at the activity in detail and goes into the underlying math.