PEMDAS

I have resisted this acronym in the past. I just don’t think it is as useful as everyone else. I am constantly frustrated by students multiplying before dividing regardless of the problem. I gave in this year. I went for it. I circled the M and D. I put arrows between the M and D as well as the A and S.

I hoped… They have all done this before I told myself.

It didn’t matter. The same mistakes happened, they are still happening. Each time I find a student doing all multiplication before the division they look at me like I’m the one that’s confused when I try to correct them. When I show them the circled letters with the arrows between them they say, “Oh.”

 

Regardless, it was very clear today that we need some more practice with the order of operations. We have listened to the PEMDAS song, done a PEMDAS relay (scroll down), and today we did a Treasure Hunt (found this great idea here at mr barton maths).

To do the treasure hunt I cut out and laminated (not necessary, but now I have them for next year) each card. Students can start with any card do the problem, then they have to find their answer on another card and complete the problem on that card. This continues until they get back to where they started.

The treasure hunt definitely got everyone up out of their seats doing math. Everyone was focused doing twenty-four math problems on a Friday! Students discovered mistakes right away because they couldn’t find their answer on another card. This is an activity I’ll modify for other concepts throughout the year. I really liked the conversations that students were having. No one was giving answers, but helpful hints were happening all over the room.

Here’s the Treasure Hunt Template if anyone wants to change it for their own class.

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