Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally is a great way to help students remember the order of operations.
However, it has one big flaw. A flaw that, if we're not careful, can result in quite a few mistakes - and a whole mess of confusion & frustrated students.
The good news is that all the confusion can be easily avoided with a simple explanation, which we explain in this video:
The confusion comes when students assume that since M comes before D in PEMDAS, then multiplication must come before division in order of operations (same thing with addition and subtraction).
To combat this, we must emphasize to them that multiplication & division go together in the same step. So do addition & subtraction.
With this simple tweak, our students should be able to use PEMDAS to remember the order of operations without any problems!
p.s. We have a great FREE order of operations activity for you to try out with your students!
It's a group activity where students first use order of operations to solve problems individually. Those answers reveal clues to the group's logic puzzle which they then work together to solve.