Friday, October 08, 2010

Weekly Class Summary: Oct. 4-8

SOLs Covered: SOL 7.2 (New 6.8) Order of Operations
Math Dictionary Sections: (5) Order of Operations
Upcoming Assessments: Order of Operations Quiz (Mon. 10/11/10); Number Theory (TBA)

This week we focused all of our efforts on mastering Order of Operations (aka PEMDAS).  We started the unit simply by reading completely through the Math Dictionary notes and discussing how the "order" is a step-by-step guide on how to solve a problem that contains more than one operation.  This led into what I call PEMDAS Story Time starring Mom (Multiplication), Dad (Division), and the Annoying Siblings (Addition & Subtraction).  This along with our OpHop (Operation Hopscotch) help prevent some of the common errors many students make with these operations.

Typically students believe they must do all multiplying before doing any division (and the same error with addition/subtraction).  However, multiplication and division must be completed in the order they "enter" the problem from left to right, then the same holds true for addition and subtraction. 
Our PEMDAS Story Time (along with the OpHop) helps students distinguish these operations as "teams" that make up steps 3 (multiplication/division) and 4 (addition/subtraction) instead of individual steps.  To help with other potential errors, the Annoying Siblings are "sent to their rooms" (vertical lines drawn on either side of the symbol) to "allow Mom and Dad to get their work done" without getting in the way.  The Annoying Siblings inside parentheses have to be taken care of first because "they were given a chore/job."

This is a difficult concept for most students when they are just starting out.  On top of this, many of the students also missed part or all of my class once this week due to a science field trip, so the quiz was pushed to Monday in order to give us more time to work on it.  The week wrapped up with our first spiral review quiz; some students still need to finish this quiz and will be given time to do so before taking the PEMDAS quiz Monday.

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