At first glance Teaching Order of Operations seems like a simple concept to teach, but it actually includes a bit more than teaching your kids to follow the BODMAS, PEDMAS, BIMDAS acronym.

Based on my experience as a numeracy coach, there’s a couple of struggle points that you need to keep an eye on when teaching Order of Operations.

Be on the lookout for students:

- who think it’s an easy topic because the problems look so ‘easy’. They will probably try to solve the problems using only their mental math skills.
- that understand how to use the order of operations correctly, but don’t apply the rules systematically. They usually struggle when an equation includes both multiplication AND division calculations and tend to solve multiplication before division, regardless of the position in a problem. They need to know that we perform the operation that comes first in a problem when reading the problem from left to right.
- who think it doesn’t matter which order they perform addition and subtraction. It must also be done in order of which comes FIRST, Left to right.

To help you teach this math topic we’ve broken the it down and included a range of activities that address the range of elaborations. For a quality teaching program you will need Order Of Operations Activities that will help your students to:

**Understand the use of brackets and the Order of Operations Rule**

- Why there is a right and wrong way to complete multiple calculations in the same number sentence
- Know that different words can mean the same thing, e.g. brackets- are parentheses, exponents are also known as indices etc…
- Understand that brackets are parentheses, that can be different shapes
- Anything inside brackets is calculated first in a number sentence
- Know & apply the 4 steps in the Order or Operations rule to solve multi-operation number sentences
- Brackets
- Work out any square or cube numbers
- If there are no brackets, calculate multiplication or division from left to right
- If there are no brackets, work out addition or subtraction from left to right

- Explore a mnemonic or acronym to help remember the order e.g. “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally”, BODMAS, BIMDAS, PEDMAS, GEMS etc…
- Unknown elements in number sentences can be represented by and empty box, question mark or a space. The unknown can appear in any position in an equation.
- Use order of operations and brackets to answer number sentences correctly

**Write number sentences from information given**

- Use brackets and order of operations to make number sentences (equations)
- Use brackets and order of operations to write number sentences that match word problems

**Build understanding of positive & negative numbers using number lines**

- All number, except zero, are either positive or negative
- Positive numbers are the most common and are not always written using the + sign e.g. 39 -19 could also be written +39 – +19
- Brackets & rules are used to help clarify information when adding, subtracting or multiplying and dividing positive & negative numbers. e.g. 50 + 40 = 90 could be written as (+50) + (+40) = +90 and -50 + -40 = -90 can be written as (-50) + (-40) = -90. Using brackets in this way helps students understand the use of brackets later.