Are your 5th and 6th graders feeling overwhelmed by complex math concepts such as negative numbers, ratios, expressions, and equations? Are they confused by PEMDAS (the order of operations)? Don’t worry! Our Spark Math teachers will break down the steps, from basic addition to using parentheses.

As your child transitions from simple addition and subtraction to understanding parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction, we are here to help. They will learn to read, interpret, and solve expressions and equations. We demystify PEMDAS and show how our Spark Math products can help your child master these skills.

# Understanding PEMDAS

PEMDAS isn’t gibberish, but a mnemonic to help children solve math problems in the right order.

Here’s the breakdown of it:

- Parentheses — tackle what’s inside them first.
- Exponents and Roots
- Multiplication
- Division
- Addition
- Subtraction

Need a memory trick? Try a silly sentence such as “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.”

PEMDAS helps students remember the correct order of operations in math, reducing mistakes and increasing the likelihood of correct answers.

# PEMDAS, BODMAS and BIDMAS

PEMDAS, BODMAS, and BIDMAS are all mnemonics for the order of operations in math. These acronyms vary by region.

For example, PEMDAS is most common in the US. In the UK, mathematicians tend to use BOMAS and BIDMAS, while BEDMAS is often used in Canada and New Zealand. The table below shows the differences.

PEMDAS | BODMAS | BIDMAS |

ParenthesesExponents Multiplication Division Addition Subtraction | BracketsOrders Division Multiplication Addition Subtraction | BracketsIndices Division Multiplication Addition Subtraction |

# Why PEMDAS Matters

Knowing the correct order of operations (in other words, PEMDAS) is a building block for advanced mathematics. It is crucial for understanding equations, algebra, and even calculus. Without it, your child’s math foundation gets shaky, making it tougher to learn and enjoy the subject.

The math order of operations is important to ensure you get the correct answer. Here is an example to illustrate how it works:

Example: 8 + 2 x (6 – 3)^2 ÷ 3

Step 1: Parentheses

First, we solve what’s inside the parentheses: (6 – 3) = 3.

Our equation now looks like this: 8 + 2 x 3^2 ÷ 3

Step 2: Exponents

Next, we address the exponents. We have 3^2, which means 3 × 3 = 9.

Our equation now becomes: 8 + 2 x 9 ÷ 3

Step 3: Multiplication and Division

Then, we do the multiplication and division from left to right. So, 2 x 9 = 18.

Now our equation is: 8 + 18 ÷ 3

Then, we perform the division: 18 ÷ 3 = 6.

So, our equation now becomes: 8 + 6

Step 4: Addition

Finally, we perform the addition: 8 + 6 = 14.

Following PEMDAS, we got the correct answer: 14.

The example above illustrates the importance of following the correct order of operations to obtain the accurate result. You wouldn’t get the same answer by just calculating left to right!

**How to Remember PEMDAS**

Struggling to remember PEMDAS? You can use silly sentences where each word starts with a letter in PEMDAS. For instance, “**Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally**” and “**Popcorn Every Monday Donuts Always Sunday**“.

Please (Parentheses) Excuse (Exponents) My (Multiplication) Dear (Division) Aunt (Addition) Sally(Subtraction) | Popcorn (Parentheses) Every (Exponents) Monday (Multiplication) Donut (Division) Always (Addition) Sunday (Subtraction) |

# How Spark Math Products Can Help

As your child move on from counting apples to solving abstract equations, these advanced concepts, while more challenging, are crucial for their academic and career success. But the question is, how how can they master these skills while still having fun?

At Spark Math, we believe that every child has the potential to excel in math. Our products grow with your child, introducing new concepts step-by-step at each stage. We also provide plenty of practice problems solidify their understanding and build confidence.

This gradual progression not only solidifies their understanding but also boosts their confidence, making them eager to tackle more advanced topics.

Moreover, Spark Math products are designed to promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills. As your child works through challenging problems, they’ll learn how to analyze, strategize, and find solutions — these skills are invaluable not just in math, but in life.