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order of operations gems

Why is GEMS the Best Way to Teach Order of Operations?


Why is GEMS the Best Way to Teach Order of Operations?

Students who master the order of operations at a young age have a much better chance of excelling at higher levels of math than those who don't.

Many teachers rely on teaching the order of operations using popular PEMDAS. mnemonic (and the played-out Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally catchphrase).

But many students fail to ever grasp a true conceptual and procedural understanding of how to correctly apply the order or operations, and PEMDAS is the likely culprit.

The following video shows you a more effective strategy for teaching the order of operations and it includes a free reference sheet and practice worksheet (keep reading to access the video and resources). The video focuses on using the GEMS mnemonic instead of PEMDAS and answers the following questions:

-Why is PEMDAS bad?

-What does GEMS stand for in order of operations?

-Why is GEMS more effective than PEMDAS when teaching order of operations?

Click Here to download your free GEMS REFERENCE GUIDE AND WORKSHEET.

Learning Standard: 3rd Grade Operations and Algebraic Thinking

Solve problems involving the four operations, and identify and explain patterns in arithmetic.

Solve two-step word problems using the four operations. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.3

Identify arithmetic patterns (including patterns in the addition table or multiplication table), and explain them using properties of operations. For example, observe that 4 times a number is always even, and explain why 4 times a number can be decomposed into two equal addends.

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By Anthony Persico


Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.