How to “Spice Up” the Concept of Order of Operations
5 Dice-Sample Lesson
Guest Post By: Melanie Kross – K12 Educator
It is well known among educators today that the most effective way to increase math achievement for students of all grade levels is through the use of small group instruction, or guided math groups. Various students will struggle with various math concepts, and teaching through small group instruction is the only way for teachers to truly identify which students are struggling, and give them the help they need and deserve on a more individual basis. Instruction needs to be differentiated and individualized…That can be overwhelming when faced with a classroom of 25 or more students. Technology can help…Apps like the 5 Dice games on this website are the wave of the future, and can help parents and teachers engage their children in higher level thinking.
Guided math groups may sound like a lot of work, but teaching in a whole group setting will leave behind those who are having a difficult time grasping concepts. Creating math groups that are flexible is not difficult, and can actually revive math instruction in the classroom by engaging students in learning that is exciting. More importantly, this allows the teacher to work more efficiently and effectively! Throw into this mix the use of Math Apps, such as 5 Dice, and students will become excited about learning even the most tedious math concepts.
The ideal framework for a math lesson would begin with whole group instruction, which may involve a SMART board interactive lesson, a PowerPoint, or simply an anchor chart with the following steps to solving problems using the Order of Operations (You may wish for students to copy this into their math journals as well):
This would be followed by various examples solved together until students have a general understanding of the concept. After this, students would be released to their stations, or centers, to practice various math concepts. Stations could include practicing basic fluency of multiplication/division facts using flash cards, playing a matching game where students will match the correct answer to the correct equation, etc. Possibilities for math stations are endless, and can require little effort on the teacher’s part!
Meanwhile, the teacher will take a small group and implement the 5 Dice Order of Operations Game, which has Bluetooth compatibility, allowing two students to play against each other. The teacher will demonstrate for students exactly how the game is played, and then allow students to play each other. Sit back and watch the engagement and excitement in the students…They are enjoying learning, and their natural competitive drive excels them to work harder and become more proficient mathematicians. Students must use higher level thinking to manipulate numbers and symbols until a correct answer is discovered.
These apps also take into account the independent practice that is vital to student success. Practice copies can be printed directly from the App, can be given to students to complete, and can then be used as an evaluation tool for the teacher.
Guided math instruction combined with technology will most definitely “spice up” learning in the classroom and will also increase understanding and improve test scores. Math Apps like these, which can be played on iPads and iPhones, are a perfect way to incorporate both into the classroom to ensure student success.