Just ‘taught’ an awesome lesson using order of operations. Earlier this week, I found Fawn’s Order of Operations Relay here and wanted to use it with my 9th grade Math Lab. Math Lab is an elective remedial course designed to support students in their regular math class. I try to make it as fun as possible and never assign homework – so a relay sounded perfect. The problem is- there are only 15 of them and I wanted them all to be involved at the same time.
Here’s how I modified it: First, I changed the title to GEMDAS (Minor vocab detail. I prefer the term ‘Grouping Symbols’ over ‘Parenthesis’) and I also added a line for their name and period. I had each student write their name at the top of the paper. Their name was the only thing they were allowed to write on the paper. They were not allowed to solve any of the problems. Each of the problems had to be completed by a different student, and then that student would sign their name next to the problem (only one signature per student allowed). When all of the problems were finished, they brought me the paper so I could check it. If the last problem was correct, I stamped it and had them move on to the next activity. If it wasn’t correct, their job was to find the mistakes and fix them using a colored pencil.
It worked really well! Everyone was involved. And I love that they had to find the mistakes themselves (with a little assistance from me as needed). Finding the mistakes added an extra level of challenge to the activity for the two or three kids who can do Order of Operations in their sleep.