Fun With Order of Operations

06 July 2011
Get them up in moving in math!  This Order of Operations activity was one of my favourite lessons last year.  I know I've been talking about the importance of technology to keep your students engaged, but another way to keep them engaged is to get them moving.  We still use the "BEDMAS" algorithm to study order of operations in class (however, I have seen some other really great ways to teach this concept - I'll think I'll try some of them next year).  To get my students up and moving, and help them remember the order of the steps, I had them create hopscotch boards on the pavement outside.  (Here in Northern Ontario, this lesson is best left to late spring - lol).  I put the students in small groups to help keep them on task and get everybody participating.  Each group had to create a hopscotch board for the order of operations - this way they could really visualize that division and multiplication, and addition and subtraction go together.

Then it was time to try them out ...

Now, if I can get a group of 12 and 13 year-old boys to be excited about creating a hopscotch video, I have to be doing something right ... ;)

When we finished "playing" I let the students use the chalk to create and solve problems - on the walls of the school!  They had a blast with this - we did have to clean the walls when we were done, but it was a hot day, and bringing out the hose was even more fun.

Every single student in my class can recite the steps of order of operations - even the students working on a modified math program.  We had so much fun with this lesson - and it just reminds me how important it is to get my students up and moving (not just for the kinesthetic learners, but for everyone).

What is your best way to get your students up and moving while learning new concepts?

This video is included in my SMARTboard Order of Operations Hopscotch lesson.


  1. AWESOME idea!!! Thanks for sharing.


  2. Love the enthusiasm in your students!!!! Thanks for posting at Math Monday!
    Cindy @ love2learn2day

  3. Thanks, they're a great bunch of kids!

  4. Oooo... thanks for sharing! :) Linky parties are fun! This was the very first one I ever attempted. I feel like I "get it" now.

  5. I am confused... I thought the order of operations was multiply and divide from left to right... this makes it look like division comes before multiplying... ????

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  7. This is pretty cool. It also fits perfectly with the weather and pacing in November :-).


  8. So glad I saw this post. I am definitely using this when we do order of operations.

    Quinnessential Lessons

  9. Thank you so much for this, my 7th/8th grade Algebra students loved it and I just added a little extra to make it pertain to the higher level math, thanks for keeping this post up from a while ago!

    A grateful teacher!