Order of Operations Resources
Once students master the basics of arithmetic—addition
, multiplication, division—they will encounter more complex problems in which more than one operation will be needed to solve the problem. The order of operations is an important concept that must be mastered, for it is the foundation on which the mathematical expression rests. Solve the problem in the wrong order and the answer will also be wrong. Our resources will teach your student how to follow the order of operations and set them up for understanding more complex equations.
Learn More About Order of Operations
The order of operations is a series of rules that tells us which procedures to perform first when evaluating a mathematical expression that has more than one operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication or division). The order of operations is a universal convention that’s followed in mathematics and was established as far back as the 1500s!
Learning the order of operations is so important that when students first learn it, they are taught a mnemonic device: PEMDAS (or “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally”)
P Parentheses first
E Exponents (powers and square root)
MD Multiplication and division
AS Addition and subtraction
Let’s look at a basic equation with more than one operation:
2 + 3 x 4
According to the order of operations, multiplication is done before addition. To make this problem easier to visualize, set off the multiplication problem with parentheses, so we know to solve that first.
Therefore: 2 + (3 x 4)
2 + (12) = 14
If we didn’t follow the order of operations and just solved the equation from left to right, we would get: (2 + 3) x 4, or 5 x 4 = 20. This answer would be incorrect.
Let’s look at another example with an exponent, which students learn around fifth or sixth grade.
2 + 3 × 42
According to the order of operations, we would solve this equation in this order:
Exponents: 42 = 16
Multiplication: 3 x 16 =48
Addition: 2 + 48 = 50
Teach your students the order of operations using our worksheets and resources and they’ll have a solid foundation for more advanced algebraic operations!