Today I shared about a time I went for a hike at Camp Nowhere. It all came full circle with the order of operations in math class as we made some crazy connections. The tale I shared was about a strange night hike that included creatures called PEMDAS. I explained that my Dear Aunt Sally was a counselor at the camp. She knew about these animals and made sure we kept our flashlights turned on to protect us from the PEMDAS that might swoop down on us. They were fearful of lights.
It all started late in the evening after a lovely dinner of burritos with rice and beans. Soon I found myself on a mountain trail with my cabin group and my aunt as our guide. We thought it would be a good idea to walk off our meal. For a while we walked without our lights as the full moon illuminated the sky. Aunt Sally turned around and said, “Turn those lights on kids! We don’t want the Pemdas to think we’re snack food.”
The group walked some more until we saw a light in the distance. I noticed it was a campfire. Aunt Sally whispered, “Quick. Turn off your lights. Let’s sneak up and surprise the cabin group near the fire pit.” The group only took a few steps before we began hearing something large swooping above our heads. I yelled out, “Run for your lives. It’s the PEMDAS!” We ran back through the forest in a sprint. Tripping over roots and bushwhacking through the undergrowth to eventually find that we had arrived back at camp where it was safe. Everyone was quiet. Listening to see if the PEMDAS had followed us. Then, we heard it. Burrrrp! Sally burped. Everyone laughed. I said, “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally guys.”
This is where we made some odd math connections. I told the kids that while the PEMDAS experience had always haunted my thoughts, it reminded me of something in mathematics. It reminded me of the order of operations. You know when you solve a problem with more than one operation you have to follow a specific order for doing things.
Isn’t that odd! Do you see the word PEMDAS? Also, when you look at the first letter of each word in “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” you see the same order! Try this game to see if you can use this order correctly. Remember the story. Next, think of the order of operations.