Submitted by: Emily Wilmesherr

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In this Order of Operations lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-8, students use BrainPOP resources to learn how to apply the order of operations when computing with whole numbers, excluding and then including exponents. Students will then create an original story, song, short skit, or poem to help them remember the order of operations, and practice their math skills through a game called Order of Operations BINGO.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Apply order of operations when computing with whole numbers, excluding exponents.
  2. Apply order of operations when computing with whole numbers, including exponents.
  3. Apply order of operations when computing with whole numbers and fractions (with older grades only).


  • Computer with internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard (or just an LCD projector)
  • White board or chart paper and markers
  • BINGO cards
  • BINGO chips
  • BINGO problems
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Bread
  • Plastic knife
  • Plate


order of operations; parentheses; exponents; PEMDAS; multiplication; division; subtraction; addition


Create BINGO Cards and problems for the Order of Operations BINGO game.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Ask students how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Have students write down their directions with a partner.
  2. Call on a pair of students to read their answer. As the students give their directions, make the sandwich as a demonstration for the class, doing EXACTLY what the students say.
  3. Talk with students about the importance of giving exact directions in the right order, not only when making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but when choosing the order of operations when solving a problem. Just like with sandwiches, if we go out of order, we won’t get the correct result.
  4. Play the Order of Operations Movie for the class and talk about the information shared. You might also want to project the Related Reading features and discuss them.
  5. Show students a sample math problem. Then say, “To find out the answer to this problem you must use the order of operations, which means that all of the operations you have already learned must be calculated in a certain order: PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication & Division, Addition & Subtraction)."
  6. Go over the order of operation rules (remind students that the multiplication and division steps are a group which work from left to right: multiplication does not come before division. This is the same with addition and subtraction.)
  7. Tell the class you will be solving a problem together on the board. Give the example 7- (2+1) and show how the answer is 4. Explain that if you ignore the parentheses and just go in order from left to right, you get 6 as your answer. But if you start inside the parentheses (adding 2 and 1 to get 3, you get the correct answer of 4.
  8. Demonstrate several more examples on the board. Here are some sample problems you can use:

    Example 1:
    4+5 x 6 -7
    Multiplication 5 x 6=30
    Addition 4 + 30-7=34-7
    Subtraction 34-7=27
    Example 2: (Real World):
    Joe buys 2 shirts at $8.00 each. He also buys a pair of jeans for $20.00 that gets a $3.00 discount. Write a numerical expression and solve.
    (2 x $8.00)+($20.00-$3.00)
    Parentheses (2 x 8)=16 and (20 - 3)=17
    Addition $16+$17

    Example 3:
    4 x ((3 x (2^2)-1)
    Parentheses ((3 x (2^2)-1)
    Exponents 2^2=4
    Multiplication 3 x 4 -1
    Subtraction 12-1
  9. Ask students to work at their tables to create their own story, song, short skit, or poem to help them remember the order of operations. Give students time to present their creations to the class.
  10. Inform the students that as we continue to practice, we will play a game of BINGO. Students can play Order of Operations BINGO in pairs or small groups of 3.
  11. Write a problem on the board, allowing students to use paper and pencil to assist them in solving. For each problem, ask for a student volunteer to come up and work out the problem on the board while the others work with their groups. Students should cover the numbers on their BINGO boards as the problems are solved.
  12. Close by going over the day’s lesson and asking students to summarize the order of operations.