03 Sep 2019

What Is A Number Sentence: Explained For Primary Parents And Kids!

  • By Connor Whelan  | 
  • 03 Sep 2019  | 
  • 2 min read
  •  |  Free download

In this post we will be answering the question “what is a number sentence?” and running through everything you need to know about this particular part of primary maths. We’ve also got a number of number sentence questions you can use to test out your child’s skills, so make sure you scroll to the bottom of the post!

What is a number sentence?

A number sentence is a combination of numbers and mathematical operations that children are often required to solve. 

Examples of number sentences include:

32 + 57 = ? 

5 x 6 = 10 x ?

103 + ? = 350

They will usually comprise of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division – or a combination of all four!

Remember – You may consider the above simply as “sums”, but referring to them as this can be confusing for children because the word “sum” should only be used when discussing addition. 

Primary Maths Dictionary For Parents & Kids

Download our FREE Maths Dictionary For Parents And Kids and find all of the KS2 maths words you'll ever need to know all in one convenient place!


Does your child need help understanding number sentences or other areas of KS2 maths?

Understanding number sentences can be tricky for primary school children, but this is only one small part of primary maths! If your child needs more in-depth maths help to raise their attainment and confidence then take a closer look at Matr’s primary maths programmes.

We have different programmes designed for children in all primary year groups, so all that’s left for you to do is find the programme that matches your child’s needs, and then watch their confidence in maths blossom!


When will my child learn about number sentences?

In the National Curriculum, number sentences are referred to as ‘mathematical statements’ – these are introduced from Year 1, where pupils read, write and interpret mathematical statements involving addition (+), subtraction (–) and equals (=) signs.

Year 2 pupils calculate mathematical statements for multiplication and division within the multiplication tables and write them using the multiplication (×), division (÷) and equals (=) signs.

Year 3 pupils write and calculate mathematical statements for multiplication and division using the multiplication tables that they know, including for two-digit numbers times one-digit numbers, using mental and progressing to formal written methods. 

These pupils continue to practise their mental recall of multiplication tables when they are calculating mathematical statements in order to improve fluency.

Number sentence examples

Year 4 pupils write statements about the equality of expressions (for example, use the distributive law 39 × 7 = 30 × 7 + 9 × 7 and associative law (2 × 3) × 4 = 2 × (3 × 4).

Year 5 pupils are expected to understand the terms factor, multiple and prime, square and cube numbers and use them to construct equivalence statements (for example, 4 x 35 = 2 x 2 x 35; 3 x 270 = 3 x 3 x 9 x 10 = 92 x 10). 

They should also recognise mixed numbers and improper fractions and convert from one form to the other and write mathematical statements > 1 as a mixed number [for example, 2/5 + 4/5 = 6/5 = 1 and 1/5].

Year 6 pupils continue to use all the multiplication tables to calculate mathematical statements in order to maintain their fluency.

Number sentence practice questions

1) Complete the number sentences.

340 ÷ 7 = ____  remainder ____                        

____÷ 3 = 295 remainder 2

2) Here is a number sentence.

____ + 27 > 85

Circle all the numbers below that make the number sentence correct.

30           40           50           60           70

3) Write in the missing number.

Number Sentence Question for primary school children


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