# What is a sum?

### What is a sum?

**The sum of two numbers is the answer you get when you add them both together**. So the sum of 5 and 4 is 9.

There was a time when teachers used the word 'sum' to name the following addition number sentence:

**9 + 5 = 14**

They would often then mistakenly use the same word to name these subtraction, multiplication and division number sentences:

**9 - 4 = 57 x 3 = 2180 ÷ 10 = 8**

To get round this confusion, we now refer to all of the above (in bold) as number sentences.

### Sums in KS1 and KS2 maths

Children in Key Stage 2 need to be familiar with the word 'sum' as it often comes up in mental maths tests. For example:

*What is the sum of 6 and 12?*

What is the sum of 8, 2 and 9?

They may also carry out word problems or investigations in maths lessons which rely on them being familiar with the word, for example:

**Word problem:**

*Mary has £35 in one bank account and £82 in another. What is the sum of money in both her bank accounts?Word problem answer: £117*

**Investigation:**

*I am thinking of a two-digit number. The sum of both its digits is 9. The number is bigger than 50 and a multiple of 9. What could it be?Investigation answer: 54, 63, 72, 81 or 90*

Children need to be exposed to a variety of mathematical vocabulary as often as possible, rather than just seeing numbers and symbols.