Order Of Operations Resources for 5th Grade

order of operations resources

Order of operations is one of my favorite math topics to teach! Mostly because I refuse to let my students be those people on Facebook…arguing over a math problem and how to use PEMDAS…you know what I’m talking about… Maybe that’s not my only reason for loving it, but it definitely ranks high on the list! Here are 5 order of operation resources for 5th grade.

Before I get into my favorite order of operation resources, let me preface by saying that my partner teacher and I teach order of operations a bit differently than it is traditionally taught. We teach our students PEDMSA (said as one word and its rather funny sounding!) and we tell them their parents have no idea what PEDMSA means and they will need to teach them! Ha! The reason we teach PEDMSA instead of PEMDAS is to help students understand that multiplication does not always come before division, and addition does not always come before subtraction! This is the most commonly committed order of operation math crime! Students must understand that these operations can change order depending on the order they appear in a problem. One way you can help students to remember this is the “swing set” rule. Basically, just like when we go to the playground, whoever gets to the swings first gets to swing. So whichever operation we see first left to right, gets done first.

Okay, with all that being said, here are my top 5 order of operations resources, activities, and games!

Order of Operation Thinking Mats


We rely heavily on these mats at the beginning of our order of operation unit and refer back to them often. These mats give students a step by step process to solve order of operation problems. They streamline the entire process. Students go through and circle the operations they see, then they make a plan (the number of steps matches the math symbols they see), then they solve. When they are done solving, they draw their victory V! This helps ensure that their work is stacked nice and neat. Oh…and did I mention it’s FREE!!!

Order of Operation Maze


This maze is a great alternative to a traditional worksheet, but still offers just as much valuable practice! I love to use these mazes during math stations.

Order of Operation Riddle


This is one of my absolute favorite (and FREE) order of operation resources for 5th grade. This really requires students to think and problem solve. And it’s hands on!!! Students must manipulate the four operations and parenthesis in order to make the same four numbers equal different answers. Since I teach 5th, we don’t do exponents yet, so we don’t do the last 4 problems. But if you teach older kids or have some higher friends who are ready for a challenge, the last few problems would be perfect for them!

Order of Operation Color by Answer

Teaching 5th grade…we don’t get to break out the crayons very often, so when we do, it’s super exciting times! This is an awesome and challenging order of operation color by answer activity from Kraus Math.

Order of Operation Task Cards


Error analysis is one of the best ways to learn! Being able to find someone else’s mistakes and explain how to fix them requires a ton of higher order thinking. These task cards require students to find mistakes in incorrectly solved order of operation problems. They have QR codes so students can self check. The cards also come with math riddles that can be used with the cards to add to the engagement! We did a whole detective lab transformation with these task cards and it was a blast!

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