Just Follow the Order and You Will See

Subject Area





This activity is an interactive online tool that allows students to explore and apply the order of operations to solve and evaluate algebraic expressions.


This activity was created at the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

    Mathematics (2019) Grade(s): 5


    Write, explain, and evaluate simple numerical expressions involving the four operations to solve up to two-step problems. Include expressions involving parentheses, brackets, or braces, using commutative, associative, and distributive properties.

    Unpacked Content



    • Expression
    • Calculate
    • Interpret
    • Evaluate
    • Compare
    • Reasoning
    • Grouping symbol
    • Parentheses
    • Braces
    • Brackets
    • Commutative property
    • Associative property
    • Distributive property


    Students know:
    • Vocabulary associated with the four operations to write the symbolic notation of the mathematical expression.
      Example: The phrase, "the product of 4 and 3" is written as "4 x 3."
    • Strategies for evaluating a numerical expression and replace it with an equivalent form.
      Example: Given (22 + 16) + 43 can be replaced with 38 + 43 and then further simplified.


    Students are able to:
    • Write, explain, and evaluate numerical expressions representing two-step problems in context.
    • Evaluate numerical expressions with grouping symbols.
    • Translate a numerical expression into words.
    • Write a numerical expression given a mathematical expression in words.


    Students understand that:
    • multi-step word problems can be represented by numerical expressions using operations and grouping symbols to indicate order of evaluating them.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Students will be able to evaluate numerical expressions by using the order of operations.

    Activity Details

    This activity can be used as an engage activity or an after/elaborate activity.


    1. The teacher will play the "sing Karaoke" and then replay and allow the whole class to sing Karaoke and learn the order of operations through song.

    2. The teacher will engage the class in step by step process of applying the order of operations through collaboration.  Click the green Step by Step button. 

    3. The teacher and students will explore and discuss the Watch Out portion by critiquing the reasoning of others. 

    4. In small groups, allow students to work together and complete the TRY IT activities and allow them time to collaborate and explain their work to their peers.

    5. Allow students individually to assess their understanding and lesson mastery through the online TEST YOURSELF. 



    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    The test yourself category allows the student to assess their progress on how well they comprehend the process of evaluating expressions by using the order of operations.

    The interactive test allows students to go back and review their test results. For the problems missed, the students have the opportunity to view the rational explanation for the correct answer.

    The teacher will use formative assessment through questions and feedback from students as she or he monitors and facilitates the various topics.

    Variation Tips

    Whole group instruction allows the entire class to sing Karaoke song - Order of Operations

    The teacher may allow students to rotate in small groups as each activity topic changes.

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    The teacher will need to make sure the class is able to connect to the internet.

    The teacher will need a classroom set of computers.

    The teacher will need a computer and an LCD projector.