Order of Operations: A Global Collaboration Tool
When asked, "What is the order of operations?", many of my students answer, "PEMDAS!" or "Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally!" While this is a way to remember the steps in the algorithm, this is one of those concepts where I want students to fully understand not just how to do it, but why we use it.
We discuss examples of doctors, mathematicians, and scientists around the world wanting to work together to solve big problems, but coming up with different answers. It helps kids see that, if everyone is on the same page, we have a common language and we can truly collaborate.
I really want my students to be able to solve equations using the correct order of operations. But, I want them to understand its purpose, too.