Lesson Plan

Solving Expressions in Word Problems

Help your students make a connection between numerical expressions and written phrases in word problems.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Explaining Expressions pre-lesson.
View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Explaining Expressions pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to solve multi-step word problems by writing and solving expressions with 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)
Expressions & Word Problems
  • Review PEMDAS (or GEMDAS). Hand out the Expressions & Word Problems worksheet and display its top section using a document camera. With student input, put the operations in order.
  • Remind students that this specific order is called the order of operations and it is important because it is a universal set of rules for how to solve multi-step problems.
  • Point out that multiplication and division are part of the same step. This means that these two operations are done during the same step, from left to right. The same is true for addition and subtraction.
  • Write the acronym (PEMDAS or GEMDAS) on the board in large letters and tell students that they can use it as a reminder throughout the lesson.
  • Explain that today students will practice using the order of operations and written statements to solve multi-step word problems.


  • Allow students to use their home language (L1) or new language (L2) in their discussions throughout the lesson.
  • Have them tell you the meaning of PEMDAS.
  • Tell students to restate the meanings of the keywords, such as "multiplication" and "division."


  • Write the academic language students can use throughout the lesson on the board as you introduce the language.
  • Have students define each of the components of PEMDAS (e.g., exponents, parentheses, etc.).
  • Ask students to identify the components of PEMDAS in the displayed worksheet.