Sunday, September 23, 2012

Poof and Bam (Order of Operations)

Do you ever have a teaching idea just come to you as you are teaching the kids?
I did this week!

I was teaching the Order of Operations.
With the Common Core, this standard now includes not only using parentheses, but also brackets!

(Insert Freshman year Algebra flashback.)

I attacked it with a touch of creativity, thank you Pinterest!

My version:

In their notebooks, students put the word Butler [brackets] along the side.
Since, inside the brackets they will use the order of operations too.
Here is a little of what students wrote in their flap book.

The Pinspiration:
This is a middle school example. (source)

In the midst of talking about parentheses, I realized my kids didn't know why I had taken them away after I did the math inside them.  So...I added a little sound effect.  

When we are done with the parentheses, poof! They disappear.

They laughed a bit, and seemed to remember it better after that.

The next day I taught brackets.

(Insert confused student faces.)

So, after explaining their purpose, one of my students asked if brackets had a sound effect when they were finished being used.

Well... yes, I guess.  
BAM!  (I must have been channeling Emeril.)

So when we have solved everything in the brackets, Bam!  They disappear.  

As we worked on problems through the week, you could hear several students saying, Poof or Bam.

What unplanned great teacher moments have you had?  
What have you used to help teach the Order of Operations?



  1. I love the Poof and Bam! How did you teach them that they multiply and divide left to right, not multiply and then divide? That's always what mine seem to have the most trouble with!

    A Place to Thrive

  2. I love this all Emily!! The poof and bam are brilliant! Study Jams has a video and song on this that my 5th graders loved a few years back :)

  3. I LOVE this, thanks for sharing!

    :) Nicole
    Tadpole Tidbits

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