Lesson Plan

Introducing Order of Operations

The order of operations is a critical concept for fourth graders to grasp in preparation for algebra. This introductory lesson on the order of operations will teach your students about the helpful acronym PEMDAS.
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Learning Objectives

Students will be able to solve math expressions using the order of operations.


(5 minutes)
  • On a piece of chart paper, write '4 + 5 x 6', and ask the students to solve it in their math journals.
  • Ask students to compare their answers with an elbow partner.
  • Invite students to share their answer with the whole class.
  • Explain on the chart paper that if you add 4 to 5 first, and get 9, then multiply 9 by 6 which equals 54, the answer is incorrect. Tell students that when you have multiple operations meaning addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division, in one expression, you must follow some rules about the order of operations.
  • Tell students that the order of operations states that multiplication and division must be done before addition and subtraction. For the sample problem, first you would multiply 5 by 6 which is 30, then add 4, equalling 34.