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Algebra Lab: Order of Operations


Activity Description

Algebra Lab - Order of Operations
Source: Algebra Lab Order of Operations Activity page (License: Protected by Copyright (c) [i.e. screenshot])

Algebra Lab is an online learning environment that focuses on the high school math topics and skills called upon in introductory science courses.  It has an excellent glossary and math topics appropriate for our learners. These include fractions, decimals, exponents, order of operation, and word problems. It provides vocabulary development and practice of language in a context related to math and science. Includes extensive teacher support, lesson plans, practice exercises, comprehension exercise, and more. For this activity, you will be presenting Order of Operations.



  1. Preview the site.
  2. Look at the tabs across the top. They include activities, directions, lessons, glossary, passages, practice, and word problems.
  3. Select a topic, for example, Order of Operations, see Example Web Site above
  4. Prepare discussion material. Print Example Document 1.
  5. Present in class


  1. Preview the site.
  2. Select a topic
  3. Use the lessons available (see Order of Operations URL above).
  4. Open the class discussion
  5. Hand out the worksheet, Order of Operations (see Example Document 1 above) Assign work in pairs or teams, including example problems online
  6. Review the assignment in class so you are available to answer questions.

Teacher Tips

This site includes a section for teachers explaining how to best use the site. You will find it under Directions. There is audio support in some of the sections.

More Ways

  1. This site has an excellent glossary of math and science terminology.
  2. The Passages section applies math to science situations, for example, 'Understanding solar eclipse'. The passages end with multiple choice questions and answers.
  3. There are reading applications including main idea, author's purpose, vocabulary, cause and effect and analyzing information

Program Areas

  • ABE: Adult Basic Education
  • ASE: High School Equivalency Preparation
  • ASE: High School Diploma
  • CTE: Career Technical Education


  • Low
  • Intermediate
  • High
  • All Levels

Lesson Plan

  • Write an equation with both addition and multiplication. With a partner, ask students to solve the problem.
  • If you add left to right, you get one answer. If you multiply left to right you get another answer. Ask students to discuss this dilemma.
  • Introduce Order of Operations
  • Present PEMDAS and list what each letter stands for on the board. 
  • Be sure to give examples of each.

Use the worksheet found at the bottom of this activity. Students can work in pairs to decide on the answer to each problem.


Create a formative quiz to evaluate students' knowledge of the order of operations.

Engagement Extension

Order of Operations is extremely important in solving mathematical problems. Have students discuss how they will use what they learned in small groups.



  • Math
    • Algebra
    • Pre-Algebra
  • Mathematics
    • Algebraic Concepts
    • Numbers and Operations on Numbers

CTE Sectors

  • Health Science and Medical Technology

CTE Anchor Standards

  • Anchor Standard 1: Academics - Analyze and apply appropriate academic standards required for successful industry sector pathway completion leading to postsecondary education and employment. Refer to the industry sector alignment matrix for identification of standards.
  • Anchor Standard 11: Demonstration and Application - Demonstrate and apply the knowledge and skills contained in the industry-sector anchor standards, pathway standards, and performance indicators in classroom, laboratory, and workplace settings, and the career technical student organization.


  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
    • 1.OA.2 - Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.
    • 3.OA.1-3 - Represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division.
    • 4.OA.1-3 - Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems.
    • 5.OA.1-2 - Write and interpret numerical expressions.
  • Algebra: Seeing Structure in Expressions
    • A.SSE.1-2 - Interpret the structure of expressions.
    • A.SSE.3-3a - Write expressions in equivalent forms to solve problems.


math, algebralab, analyzing information, angles, area, audio, cause and effect, collaboration, complex numbers, comprehension, concepts, decimals, exponents, formulas, fractions, geometry, glossary, graphing calculator, hyperlinks, linear equations, main idea, order of operation, perimeter, practice, probability, triangles, vocabulary, word problems, absolute value, algebra
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.