Rocky, PEMDAS, and the Best Darn Article

Math Blogger Initiative Week 3

I was super excited to have my week 2 post picked up by one of the blogging initiators. Lots of hits, 2 comments, one of which is mine...insecurity settling in...but wait, writing is for me...right...carry on!

Have you ever read an article you just didn't want to end? I have, I did...and I want to share it with you all. The best darn article I have ever read on math education, that made me drool with desire for similar discourse, is by Jerry A. Ameis in the March 2011 edition of Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. So here is what I did after reading The Truth About PEMDAS:

The second day into teaching Algebra 1 I asked the students to write down the solution to
2 + 4 x 4. Thankfully I got the two responses I was looking for evenly distributed among the students, 18 and 24. A debate ensued and eventually the group that answered 24 buckled with, yeah,yeah. Then     I told them a rocky the squirrel story, how Rocky stored 7acorns in one tree and hid two sets of 6 acorns in another tree. I then had them illustrate the scenario. Every single kid got the correct answer and we had  good fun laughing at the "asparagas" trees one student drew for us on the board. We agreed the expression 7 + 2 x 6 was the correct one.

What was so empowering is that I could show them how smart they were and that they intuitively know that multiplication takes precedence over addition. I am sure the kids had new confidence going forward with working with order of operations.

I wish every lesson I teach could be as fun and empowering as this one. Please Mr. Ameis, tell me the rest of the story.

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1 comment :

  1. Thanks for sharing this with us, Amy. Although I'm not teaching Algebra 1 at the moment, I think I'll have to tuck this one back in the memory banks.


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