How to Solve Operations Puzzles

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Operations puzzles are fun and a wonderful way to improve your math skills. They are fairly easy to solve and can become quite addictive. Basic puzzles use the mathematical operations subtraction, addition, multiplication, and division. The more you do, the better your math skills become. What better way to learn basic math than by solving fun puzzles!

    Write down the operations puzzle on a piece of paper. For some puzzles, a little trial and error may be involved as you begin learning to solve the problem. The example for this how to will use the equation (6 * 5) * (9 * 2) = 19.

    Insert operations in places of the asterisks. Unless told otherwise, begin with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Begin by determining which operations will yield the desired results. For example, if you use all multiplication, you will obviously end up with a number larger than 19. The same applies with using all addition. Take a few minutes to determine which operations make the most sense.

    Write down each combination of operations you use. This will allow you to see which operations are working and which are throwing the puzzle off. This example results in (6 - 5) + (9 x 2) = 19.

    Check each combination by actually solving the equation.

    (6 – 5) = 1 (9 x 2) = 18 1 + 18 = 19

    You now have the correct combination of operations. If you did not achieve the desired result, it’s time to go back to step one. After all, puzzles can be a little tricky.

    Things You'll Need

    • Basic understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
    • Understanding of more advanced math concepts for higher grade levels
    • Pencil
    • Paper


    • Be patient when learning to work operations puzzles. Try not to use a calculator, especially with simpler puzzles using just the four basic operations and regular integers. The more puzzles you do, the better you will get. You will have less trial and error as you progress.


    • Operations puzzles may result in a math addiction. Have fun!

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