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ERIC Number: EJ1160105
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Rethinking the Order of Operations (Or What "Is" the Matter with Dear Aunt Sally?)
Taff, Jason
Mathematics Teacher, v111 n2 p126-132 Oct 2017
In this article, Jason Taff shares an approach that he presented to advanced seventh-grade prealgebra students. He begins by summarizing some of the shortcomings of equating the order of operations concept with the PEMDAS (often rendered mnemonically as "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally") procedure with the hope of helping teachers at the high school level better understand their students' common misconceptions about the order of operations. Next, Taff describes his alternative approach, which both matches one's intuitions about the order of operations more closely and provides a natural place to introduce important vocabulary items to his students: "term" and "factor."
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 7
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A