Order of Operations Surgery

This week, we have been learning all about solving the order of operations. This is one of my favorite units to teach because there are so many great hands on activities to get the students excited about learning!

Day One:
I put the most impossible problem using order of operations on the board. Students try to solve the problem, and always get the wrong answer. After working a few minutes and I heard their frustrations,  Enter: My Dear Aunt Sally. (I come in dressed as an old woman) I hand out my business card and explain to them that in order to solve a problem with multiple operations, you must follow the specific order. I STRESS left to right by swaying! After introducing the order, and solving the problem with the class Aunt Sally leaves. Enter: Me (acting as if, I have no clue what is going on.)
After I come back into the classroom- we discuss what they learned from their ornery, old Aunt. After they tell me the order, I break out into the Order of Operations song that I borrowed from Ron Clark. We just do the chorus, not the whole song and the kids LOVE IT!

Day Two:
We spend time learning the words and motions to the Order of Operations song! The students are so into it, and fully understand why we learn songs! We even got to perform our song and dance to the other math classes, loved watching the students shine!
The students then had the opportunity to work together in their table groups to solve different problems. I love seeing them work together and help each other when needed. I’m a firm believer that they learn so much more from their peers, so they should work often with their classmates. To make this even more fun, they get to write the problems on their desk with dry erase marker.

Day Three:
Today is the day for them to showcase their knowledge independently. We did such a great activity that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers, a I have Who Has for order of operations. The students cut strips, solved problems, and glued them in the correct order. I liked this activity because the students are able to self-check themselves because the answers are given, and they just have to find the correct one. This way, they know if they get the incorrect answer, and can learn from their mistakes.

Day Four:
On big butcher paper, we drew large traces of bodies. All over the body we put difficult order of operations problems. Next to each problem we put an “operation” that the “patient” was getting.
When the students came into class, I had on my doctor’s coat and a surgical mask, and gave each student a surgical mask. They had to grab their scalpel (pencil) and find a “patient.” In the background I had operating room noises on, and the students began their “surgery.” When they completed a problem, the attending (me) came to check it, and if they got it correct, they put a band aid on the problem and wrote the answer on the band aid.

Not only was this activity fun, but the students were SO engaged. They were so excited to solve each problem in an attempt to save their patient. Some of the students even named them. I love seeing my students get excited about math!  


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