Turn your child into a maths magician?

A Maths Strategy To Make Things Easier: Decomposing
Maths is filled with big words that when broken down have simple meanings. One very useful strategy for you and your children to know in maths is how to decompose. It sounds like something in the compost heap - and in some ways it is...
When we put our leftovers into the compost it is so we can break it down into something we can use and that is exactly what you do when you decompose a maths problem!

To decompose in maths means to ‘break apart’ or ‘separate’ numbers – or as I use to say to students “let’s smash these numbers right open!”

This strategy is used in junior school with smaller numbers, which then move onto bigger numbers as they get older. Decomposition is a fun strategy that helps students understand place value and makes solving maths problems a lot easier!

When a number is taken apart or decomposed, each digit is seen as its original value (place value). For example: the number 32 become 30 + 2, the number 576 when you break it apart becomes 500 + 70 + 6.

Decomposing or ‘breaking apart’ numbers like this makes math problems a lot easier to solve.

For example: Break both numbers down to place value and add each, starting with the largest:

36 + 25

= 36 breaks into 30 plus 6 (30 + 6), 25 breaks into 20 plus 5 (20 + 5) 30 + 20 = 50

6 + 5 = 11

50 + 11 = 61


Another way of ‘separating’ or ‘breaking apart’ is to keep one number intact and only break the second number down by place value and then adding each place:

26 + 15 =

26 stays intact and 15 breaks into 10 and 5

26 + 10 = 36

36 + 5 = 41

Decomposing numbers is a strategy that can be used in all basic maths operations:addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.

StayOnTrack knows this is a really useful strategy and has included it in activities such as All boxed in,

Now it is your turn: Take a couple of big numbers to add together, decompose it into it's place value and add it! See how much easier that was!

StayOnTrack Limited 2014