Welcome to the order of operations worksheets page at Math-Drills.com where we definitely follow orders! This page includes Order of Operations worksheets using whole numbers, decimals and fractions.
Elementary and middle school students generally use the acronyms PEMDAS or BEDMAS to help them remember the order in which they complete multi-operation questions. The 'P' or 'B' in the acronym stands for parentheses or brackets. All operations within brackets get completed first. The 'E' refers to any exponents; all exponents are calculated after the parentheses. The 'M' and 'D' are interchangeable as one completes the multiplication and division in the order that they appear from left to right. The fourth and final step is to solve for the addition and subtraction in the order that they appear from left to right.
More recently, students are being taught the acronym, PEMA, for order of operations, to avoid the confusion inherent in the other acronyms. For example, in PEMDAS, multiplication comes before division which some people incorrectly assumes means that multiplication must be done before division in an order of operations question. In fact, the two operations are completed in the order that they occur from left to right in the question. This is recognized in PEMA which more correctly shows that there are four levels to complete in an order of operations question.
Unless you want your students doing something different than the rest of the world, it would be a good idea to get them to understand these rules. There is no discovery or exploration needed here. These are rules that need to be learned and practiced and have been accepted as the standard approach to solving any multi-step mathematics problem.
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