Lesson plan

PEMDAS: Order Up!

Teach students that order matters with this lesson about PEMDAS. Students will practice both in a group and individually to ensure their understanding.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Order of Operations Sequencing pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Order of Operations Sequencing pre-lesson.

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

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Prior to conducting this lesson, gauge students' understanding of the order of operations.
  • Write a pair of equations on the board similar to: 5 × 3 + 6 and 5 + 3 × 6.
  • Discuss the rules that must be followed for this problem to be solved correctly.
  • Have students insert parentheses around the multiplication or division part in the expressions, and define it as symbols used in mathematics to group things.
  • Discuss the similarities and differences in the problems and the change in results this would cause.
  • Explain that at the conclusion of this lesson, they will be able to solve problems that require them to know the order in which operations should take place.
(15 minutes)
  • Using the Algebraic Expressions worksheet, section 2, write an equation on the board.
  • Use parentheses to evaluate the expression in two different ways and explain the difference in the two expressions.
  • Review the PEMDAS acronym and explain that it shows the order to follow when solving math expressions with different operations. Model solving the expression using the PEMDAS as a reference.
  • Reveal the correct answer.
(10 minutes)
  • Using the remaining problems on the Algebraic Expressions worksheet, section 2, have students use parentheses to solve the equations. (Note: if you use the key that is provided to answer the questions, you will have to provide parentheses that will equate to the correct answer.)
  • Allow students to work in small groups or pairs to solve each problem.
(25 minutes)
  • If your students have not yet learned exponents, explain them now or make the five questions on the worksheet that requires them optional.
  • Using the Order of Operations: PEMDAS worksheet, have students use the order of operations to work through each of the problems.


  • Have students create a PEMDAS foldable or cheat sheet that they can use as they work through each problem.


  • Allow students to create their own problems and solve them.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students identify the PEMDAS components.
  • Then, have students write the following equation on a note card: 5 – 3 [23 – 5 + 7 (-3)].
  • Have each student solve the equation individually and turn it in as an exit ticket.
  • If time permits, allow students to solve the equation using the whiteboard.
(5 minutes)
  • Recap the day's lesson and emphasize the importance of the order of operations.
  • Allow students to ask questions that they still have and make comments about what they have learned today.

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