Welcome to Table Talk Math. This week, we're talking about a classic puzzle using only a single number: Four Fours.
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Table Talk Newsletter #24

Great news! For the Spanish version of this week's newsletter, click here. Ed Campos has joined the team to provide a Spanish-translated version of our newsletters for parents who would appreciate it. Check it out and send Ed some love! Also, feel free to share the link ( with your Spanish-speaking friends.

Here's the challenge:

How many numbers can you generate using only four fours and the operations below?
  • addition
  • subtraction
  • multiplication
  • division
  • parenthesis
  • exponents
  • factorials (optional)
Here's how it works:

4*4 - 4*4 = 0
(4 + 4) / (4 + 4) = 1

... and so on. I don't want to give you a solution for each, but how high can you and your child(ren) go?

For the younger crowd, it's OK to bounce around. For example, using addition and subtraction will only get you so far, and won't get all number between 0 and 10, but that's alright. Playing around with numbers and seeing what can happen is a big part of the puzzle.

For the older crew, write down the values 1 through 20 and talk about how each total can be achieved. As solutions pop up, fill them into the table (or onto the sheet of paper). Once you get the first twenty, there are solutions up to 100 and beyond, so get wild and make it a family challenge!

So here's a way to report back: what numbers are you having trouble creating? What is your most creative set of four fours? Share them by emailing them back to me, posting them onto Twitter, or sharing them on the Table Talk Math Facebook page.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on Twitter (@TableTalkMath) or reply to this email. Be sure to have your friends sign up for the newsletter at for weekly updates.

A number of people mentioned that a Spanish version of the newsletter would benefit them or parents that they knew, so Ed is coming onto the team for that support. If you have any requests, please feel free to let me know.

Thank you for taking the time to improve math fluency for children, one table talk conversation at a time.
Copyright © 2017 Table Talk Math, All rights reserved.

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