Help Your Child Understand the Order of Operations for Math Class

Just recently my son started working with multi-step problems which means he had to use the order of operations. Needless to say he was struggling. He couldn’t remember the order of operations to save his life. Then I used the old saying my teacher always told me in school. “When working with order of operations, always remember, Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.”

That is one math saying that always stuck with me and helped me out tremendously when I had to solve multi-step problems. Now that I have passed it on to my son, he doesn’t struggle with it anymore. That’s why I decided to pass it on in hopes it will help other people.

When working with multi-step problems you must use the order of operations or else you will end up with the wrong answer. That’s where the order of operations comes into play.

Step 1 – You must always do the problem in parentheses first.

Step 2 – Then do your exponents.

Step 3 – Next do your multiplication and division from left to right.

Step 4 – And last do addition and subtraction from left to right.

In order to remember those four steps, Just remember “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.”

Please = Parentheses
Excuse = Exponents
My = Multiplication
Dear = Division
Aunt = Addition
Sally = Subtraction

For example…

8 x ( 5 + 16 ) / 4 – 2 =

First do the parentheses.

8 x ( 5 + 16 ) / 4 – 2 =

Since there is no exponents we move to the multiplication.

8 x 21 / 4 – 2 =

Now we do division

168 / 4 – 2 =

Since there is no addition we move to subtraction.

42 – 2 =

So your answer to

8 x ( 5 + 16 ) / 4 – 2 = 40

I hope this helps more kids the way it has helped mine. Math can be fun if you make it fun.

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