This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. This comes at no cost to you. Thanks for your support of Math = Love!
Can you solve the Fours Challenge? Can you use exactly four fours and your choice of arithmetical symbols to form the target numbers?
What is the Fours Challenge?
Using exactly four fours, add arithmetical symbols between the fours to make each of the target numbers. You may use plus, minus, times, and divide symbols, as well as parentheses and brackets for grouping.
This a simplified version of the classic Four Fours Puzzle.
Source of Challenge
I discovered this challenge based on the number three in Pierre Berloquin’s 100 Numerical Games book.
I picked up a copy of the book several years ago at Goodwill, and it has inspired numerous classroom activities over the years. Previously, I have blogged about the 20 x 9 Challenge, the Twos Challenge, and the Threes Challenge.
Ideas for Using in Class
I have previously used this challenge with students on the first day of school as part of the Twos to Nines Challenge. I put challenges up for each of the numbers from two to nine around the classroom for students to tackle.
I created a printable template for the fours challenge that already has the four fours written in. Students just have to add various mathematical symbols to make each expression mathematically correct.
For puzzles like this, I usually only print a class set of copies in order to save paper. I prefer to give my students these puzzles in a dry erase pocket. You can pick them at places like Dollar Tree and Target’s Dollar Spot, but I’ve found they are much cheaper when you buy a classroom set from somewhere like Amazon.
MATH = LOVE RECOMMENDS…
I cannot imagine teaching math without my dry erase pockets! They instantly make any activity more engaging and save me countless hours at the copy machine since I can use the same class sets of copies year after year.
Here are my current go-to recommendations:
If you don’t have a classroom set of dry erase pockets, you could also use heavy duty sheet protectors. But, I highly recommend investing in a classroom set of the pockets since they are so much more durable.
Free Download of Fours Challenge
Fours Challenge Puzzle (PDF) (140 downloads)
Fours Challenge Puzzle (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (18 downloads)
I intentionally do not make answers to the printable math puzzles I share on my blog available online because I strive to provide learning experiences for my students that are non-google-able. I would like other teachers to be able to use these puzzles in their classrooms as well without the solutions being easily found on the Internet.
However, I do recognize that us teachers are busy people and sometimes need to quickly reference an answer key to see if a student has solved a puzzle correctly or to see if they have interpreted the instructions properly.
If you are a teacher who is using these puzzles in your classroom, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.
More Number Based Challenges and Puzzles
- 3-1-4 Pi Day Number Challenge
- Fours Challenge Puzzle
- 2023 Challenge: Yearly Number Challenge
- Threes Challenge
- Twos Challenge
- 7 Free Printable Math Challenges to Enjoy
- Twosday Challenge Activity
- Strimko Puzzles in the Classroom
- Rotated Square Puzzle
- Make 30 Puzzles
- Which Side of the Line Numbers Puzzle
- Simple Sums Puzzle