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Students practice translating between words and algebraic expressions, utilizing the correct order of operations
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This activity helps students understand the importance of correctly applying order of operations. Given algebraic expressions, students are asked to translate the algebraic expression into a series of imperatives. For example 5(x+3)-9 is translated as "Start with a number x. Add 3, then multiply by 5. Subtract 9 from the result." This activity would certainly solidify students understanding of algebraic expressions. It would be fun to add expressions which require a solid understand of order of operations. (such as "2+x *3)
I find that many of my students don't pay enough attention to notation, so this exercise requires them to really understand what al the symbols mean. It is a powerful example of why we need the order of operations. It also provides great practice translating from English to math and vice versa.