Using Foldables and Games to Review Numeric Expressions and Order of Operations

I love being able to teach math first thing in the morning!  It is a great way to start my day.  I use my morning work time to have my students cut out or color in their interactive notebook foldables.  Then when we are ready to start our day everything is organized and ready to go.  In this way I have a full 45 minutes to teach math, and not worry about the few slow kids who are always the last ones done cutting.

Today I wanted to share a few resources for reviewing numerical expressions and order of operations:

1) Foldables Foldables and Foldables-  Have you started to use foldables and interactive notebooks?  I started using this several years ago and it has really changed my teaching. It's NOT about cutting and gluing!  Used correctly, foldables are a great study tool for students who need the kinestic touch to study.  They provide parents with the needed vocabulary to help their children, and a great way to teach students about organizing notes and their thinking.

I used three different foldables with this section of my Expressions and Equations unit to help organize vocabulary and give my students a reference point for justifying and explaning their answers.  One reviews basic operations.  We created a four door foldable and put words that can be found in questions and word problems on the inside.  It's basic, but it gets the point across.

My students cut and colored the front during morning work.  Then we completed an activity where students had to sort key operation words.  These went into the inside.

Here is an example of the inside when they finished.  This was great for teaching them about how to "speak" math.  We refer to it a lot throughout the year when we learn how to correctly justify or explain our thinking in words.

The second is for exponents.  I use this foldable for vocabulary as well.  My students need to learn the different ways an exponent can be written.  They always have trouble with this.  They can never remember that the exponent tells how many times the base is used as a factor.  They also have trouble remembering that the expanded form can also be called product of the same factor and repeated multiplication.  Those pesky test creators always use different names for this and it throws my students off.

The third foldable I use is for Order of Operations.
The PEMDAS explains the order that needs to be used with these numerical expressions.  I really stress the way that I have students enter information in this foldable.  My kids always forget that you can multiply OR divide which ever comes first.  The same with adding and subtracting.  So I always put a lot of emphasis on this section.

You can find these foldables {HERE} if you want to use them in your classroom.
I also include examples foldables in our notebooks. Here, we made what I call finger foldables for numeric phrases.  I like to keep things color coded. So when we complete these foldables I have students circle key words using the same color they used in the operations foldable I mentioned above.  If addition was green, then all the addition words are circled in green, etc.  I believe this really helps make the visual memory connection in vocabulary.  After we circle the key word and write the operation on the inside of the foldable we translate the expression.
Here is an example of the finger foldables.

2) Fun Videos
Have you seen Ron Clark perform his Order of Operations song? It is perfect to get your students up and singing about the Order of Operations. My students love it, and I love when I hear them singing or humming it during an assessment!  There is a great link from an Atlanta news station which shows the group dancing on desks and performing.  ***You have to watch about 5 seconds of an ad before you can skip to the video **

Here is another great video source that I use in the unit from Flocabulary.  There are tons of resources that Flocabulary has to offer.
I found it on YouTube

3) Interactive Games
My students love to play math games... I mean who doesn't like being able to work in a group and talk... and when the talking is about Math-- HOLLA!
Try this Order of Operations Freebie. It really gets my smarties thinking because those placement of numbers is important to win this game!

We also have loved playing Exponent Dominoes to practice making the connections between exponents, numbers in expanded form, and standard form numbers.  I printed these in yellow, orange and white cardstock to give them a Fall theme because I teach this unit in the fall.  But they work just as well any time of year. 

Have access to IPads?
You may also want to try this IPad game.  It is perfect for centers.
5 Dice- Order of Operations Game
This game is similar to my Order of Operations Freebie.  Students are given a target number and five dice.  They must create a numerical expression that is as close to or equal to the target.  You can set the game to use just addition and subtraction, or all four operations with grouping symbols.

I hope these resources are helpful!  Have a great day!

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