Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bowling With Math: A Great Order of Operations (PEMDAS) Practice Activity

Awhile back I posted a simple document called "Bowling With Math" without a lot of explanation in a post titled Order of Operations Game: Bowling With Math. Well, I am going to revisit that document, and expand on it a little bit today.

The Bowling With Math activity page ( you can download in .doc or .pdf format) has 10 "frames," just like in a regular bowling game. This activity is great because it can be varied in difficulty. The point here is that the teacher either chooses a few numbers (or rolls dice like I do), and students have to manipulate those numbers to equal the 10 different "pins" in the "frame," marking that number out each time they do so.

In my classroom (5th grade), I roll three dice. So let's say I roll a 5, 4, and 1. Students have to manipulate those three numbers using the order of operations (PEMDAS) to equal each pin number.

For example, I can do the following:

5+4+1 = 10
(5-4) x 1 = 1
(5-4) + 1 = 2
5+4-1 = 8
1x4+5 = 9

So let's say that's all I came up with, so I'd mark out the pins for 1, 2, 8, 9, and 10 and I would score 5 points for that frame.

In my class, I would do two frames per day, with students keeping their score on the score card each day. At the end of each week, students add their scores and keep a running total. This is a great activity that, when done consistently, teacher the order of operations in a very meaningful, engaging, and differentiated way. You can do as little as two numbers, or as many as you'd like. You can also change the rolls. Some weeks I'd roll five numbers and tell students to choose any three. Other weeks I'd roll six and tell them they could use no more than 3, etc. You can do whatever you want.

For convenience, I've added all the files, as well as a poster if you want to make a bulletin board for this activity, all in this convenient pdf file: PEMDAS BOWLING WITH MATH PACKET


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