Order of Operations

Subject Area





This online game requires students to save seven members of a Royal Family from prison by using their order of operation skills to build stairways leading to their secret cells.

This learning activity was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science University, GEMS-U Project.

    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 solve expressions with multiple operations. 

    Activity Details

    This learning activity is designed to give students an opportunity to practice solving equations using the order of operations in a fun and engaging way. 

    1. If technology equipment allows, the teacher should first launch the game for students to view and model selecting a character and solving an equation using the game.

    *Note that students must solve the equation one step at a time, and the game will NOT tell students if they have chosen the correct part of the equation to solve next. 

    2. Students launch the game and play independently or with a partner. Although this is an online resource, encourage students to record their work using pencil and paper. 

    **This resource capitalizes on students' natural interest in math and provides feedback after each equation is solved. 

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    Students who complete the game are generally considered successful at solving order of operations equations. After playing the game, students could be given a follow-up exit ticket to ensure understanding and transfer of skills from digital to written. 

    Variation Tips

    While a digital version of the order of operations may be engaging and exciting for some students, it may overwhelm others. For students who may be struggling, complete this activity in a small group where the group works through the levels of the game together. Students may use dry erase boards, paper etc. to solve the problems as the group works through them together. 

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    Ensure that student/teacher devices are compatible with this game before the lesson, and also have scratch paper available for students to use during the game. 

    The teacher may also watch the "How-To" video located at the top of the page to become familiar with the game before demonstrating to students.