Lesson plan

Problems with Parentheses

Students will explore how parentheses change the meaning of a number sentence. They will be challenged with a set of playing cards to make a certain number.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able to accurately solve and create number sentences with parentheses.

(5 minutes)
Lucky 13 ChallengeParentheses Problems
  • Write the sentences Let’s eat GrandmaAnd Let’s eat, GrandmaOn the board.
  • Discuss the difference between the two sentences.
  • Raise a discussion on the order of the comma. Potential discussion questions include: How does the comma change the meaning of the sentence? What are other examples of sentences you have seen that change meaning with the comma placement?
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to your students that just as the comma changes the meaning of the sentence, there is punctuation in a number model or expression that changes the outcome of the problem.
  • Watch the PEMDAS video.
  • Write 5 + 6 x 2On the board, and ask your students to solve the problem.
  • Add parentheses to make the problem 5 + (6 x 2), and model solving inside the parentheses first. Ask your students to turn and talk about how it changed the problem.
  • Repeat with 14 / 2 + 5.
  • Have half the class solve with the parentheses around ( 14 / 2 ) + 5And the other half with 14 / ( 2 + 5 ).
  • Discuss the steps students took to solve and how the answers are different.
(20 minutes)
  • Explain to your students that they will rearrange numbers and add parentheses to make number sentences true.
  • Divide students into 4-5 groups. Have one group go at a time in front of the class. Direct the other students to help solve on scratch paper or whiteboards.
  • Hand out number cards, operation cards, and parentheses cards to the first group.
  • Provide them with the number answer card to their problem.
  • Have students display their number cards and operation cards to the class so they can write down their options and begin solving independently.
  • Ask the first group to rearrange themselves with parentheses to reach the number answer and make the number sentence true.
  • Repeat with the rest of the groups.
(10 minutes)
  • Introduce the Lucky 13 challenge.
  • Review the directions, and answer your students' questions. Remind students that they can use any of the four operations.
  • Instruct your students to complete the worksheet.
  • Enrichment:Direct your students to create their own challenge with four (or more) additional playing cards.
  • Support:Provide playing cards so that your students can physically manipulate and rearrange the numbers.
(10 minutes)
  • During the Lucky 13 Challenge, walk around the room and make sure that your students' number sentences make sense.
(5 minutes)
  • Have your students share one of the expressions they created to make the number 13.
  • As students share, have the class check the work to make sure the number sentences are correct.

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