Thursday, August 1, 2013

Order of Operations

 I have been thinking about two lessons in my text that are three lessons apart from each other.  The first is a basic review of the order of operations and the other is about nested grouping symbols.

My thoughts have been very focused on how to make a quality graphic organizer or foldable that will help my kiddos think through the order of operations.  They tend to work from left to right which causes a problem in so many ways.

So the pictures are my graphic organizer for the review lesson.  I loved how Sarah at Math=Love ( organized the letters to PEMDAS.  So I decided to use that as the left hand side of my table and then have 3 examples that come after it.  I wanted the kiddos to think about each letter of PEMDAS and decide if they had parentheses or exponents in the problem and not just start at the left and work right.

I am going to have them color code the letters of PEMDAS which are on their sheet already and add the  L –> R above multiplying/dividing and addition/subtraction.  Then, using their colors, I want them to color code the steps on the problem before we begin to solve anything.  Again, I am hoping to stop them from simply working left to right.

After we have done all of this, we are going to work the problem.  The students will fill in one box at a time as they work the problem following the order of operations.  My other goal of this graphic organizer is to have them see what showing their work looks like.  Sneaky, huh? :)  Also, if you like this graphic organizer, you can download it at the end of this post.

The next lesson on nested grouping symbols always seems difficult for the kiddos.  I think it is terminology.  They don't use "inner most" in their vocabulary often and "inner most" changes position in problems.  I wanted a foldable that would help them to see that they start at the inner most parentheses and work their way out.

To do this, I took a fairly simple problem and three different colored pieces of paper.  I folded them over about an inch and then glued them together at the fold.  I wrote the problem so that each part was on a different color.  I also number the order in which to do the parts.

Students will then lift the flap to reveal the value of the expression.  Then, they will work the second part. 
Lifting that flap reveals that the value of the green section's expression and the rest of the expression is solved using the order of operations.  The value of the entire expression is circled after all of the operations are preformed.
This last picture is how the page in the students INB will look.  After the initial foldable, I decided not to make another for the notebook.  However, if time, I would love to give them a problem in the next day or so and ask them to make the foldable for their problem.  It would be neat to display them in the classroom.

Anyway, I elected to have the students write two additional examples and highlight the step they are going to calculate before writing the next line.  The text also throws in the absolute value symbol as a grouping symbol, so I need to say something about it.  Thus, the note about absolute value at the end.

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