Using Parenthesis/Brackets

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The lesson introduces students to the use of parentheses, brackets, and braces when solving expressions.  Though most students should already know the order of operations (PEMDAS), the lesson includes a review.  Many students though become confused when they begin seeing brackets and braces, but as with the order of operations, a step-by-step approach will improve their understanding of their use. Teachers are encouraged to give students ample opportunity for practice using the additional worksheet resources.

Using Parenthesis/Brackets Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Using Parenthesis/Brackets
  • Hands-on homework activities giving students practice on identifying and using Using Parenthesis/Brackets
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 5-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

The lesson offers a review of PEMDAS to assist with order of operations, and then introduces students to the use of parentheses, brackets, and braces when solving expressions.  Many students become confused when they begin seeing brackets and braces and struggle with the different between them, but as with the order of operations, a step-by-step approach will improve their understanding of their use.  Additional worksheets are included so you can give your students ample opportunity to practice this skill.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Display a pair of parentheses, brackets, and braces. Ask students:  What do these symbols mean to you?  Why and how are they used?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. Guide students to their use when working with algebraic expressions.  Display PEMDAS.  Ask students:  What do the letters mean to you?
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Review the order of operations.  Introduce Using Parentheses, Brackets, and Braces.
  4. Distribute Using Parentheses/Brackets content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Display the sample expressions, demonstrate each step for the students.  Create additional expressions if necessary and demonstrate the steps.  Save the final question for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  5. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  Pair students.  Distribute supplies.  Allow sufficient time for students to create, write out and solve the expressions.  Once students have completed at least 10 expressions, each pair of students glue or tape a final expression to the construction paper for the rest of the class to solve. (students’ expressions will vary.)
  6. Once completed with the 10 expressions, students exchange them with another pair of students who will check the solutions.
  7. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  8. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.
  9. In closing, ask students: What other memory device can you use to help remember the order of the three symbols? Can you include it with PEMDAS too?
  10. Allow for responses and discussion. Encourage students to be creative, possibly changing PEMDAS as well.

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.OA.A.1

None for Grade 6

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions.

Additional Resources: 

Want more math resources? Check out our other Math Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Math