Order in the Math Class
The students will physically review the order of operations.
Grade Level: 5 - 7th
Length of Time: 1-2 Class Periods
Common Core Alignment
CCSS.Math.Content.6.EE.A.2.C - Evaluate expressions at specific values of their variables. Include expressions that arise from formulas used in real-world problems. Perform arithmetic operations, including those involving whole-number exponents, in the conventional order when there are no parentheses to specify a particular order (Order of Operations). For example, use the formulas V = s3 and A = 6 s2 to find the volume and surface area of a cube with sides of length s = 1/2.
Objectives & Outcomes
Using an interactive process, the students will be able to correctly use the order of operations.
Pre-cut sheets of paper/cardboard large enough to see at a short distance, markers
Prepare ahead of time: Create about 15 pieces of cardboard/paper with each having a different symbol, number, number w/exponent, root, parenthesis, etc.
Opening to Lesson
- Display the letters: PEMDAS (Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction)
- Explain to students this will help them remember the order of operations
- Display an example and have students solve the problem
- Discuss responses and common errors
Body of Lesson
- Display prepared pieces of paper/cardboard showing different parts of an expression: operation signs, exponents, parenthesis, etc.
- Give the samples to student volunteers or assign each to a student
- Have students stand in front of the room creating an acceptable expression to be solved
- Ask seated students to solve the problem
- Discuss responses and common errors
- Have the students shuffle the display
- Ask students to solve the new problem
- Split students into two large groups
- Distribute blank sheets or paper/cardboard and markers to the students
- Have students create various operational signs, numbers, parenthesis, exponents, roots, etc. (This should take no more than 10-15 minutes)
- Once both groups have completed creating the display cards, tell students they will arrange them in a logical order for the other half of the class to solve
- Some students may be holding a parenthesis and a number, or an operational sign and number
- Encourage students to display easier problems first, then increase the difficulty
- Allow about 10-15 minutes for each group to present the problems in front of the classroom
- The seated students will be solving the expression (An option may be for the class to solve together the first couple of times.)
- During the lesson, remind students of PEMDAS, but also tell students that when it is only addition/subtraction or multiplication/division, work left to right
- Seated students may also write out the problem to help with solving
- Review PEMDAS
- Create or use a commercial worksheet with problems students will solve using the correct order of operations, in-class or for homework.
Ask students why it is important to solve problems using the correct order of operations. Finally, ask students to create a new pneumonic device to recall the order of operations.
Assessment & Evaluation
Assessment page used for students to solve order of operation expressions/problems
Modification & Differentiation
Students work in smaller groups; have the paper/cardboard symbols, numbers, etc. created ahead of time and distribute some to each student randomly calling students to the front of the room to display different problems; do the lesson outdoors or in a gym where there is more room; have students create a 6-foot problem using old adding machine-like tape for peers to solve.
Related Lesson Plans
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The students will practice using geometry formulas measuring items in the classroom to find area and volume, radius and circumference, and identify the types of angles.
Students will work in pairs to practice finding the volume of cones, cylinders, and spheres using everyday objects.