There is such a thing as inverse BEDMAS. That is the embarrassing revelation I reached today (contrary to the forums on askingtoexpert and yahoo). Some people believe that once an individual obtains a teaching degree that they will be blessed with the magical power of infinite knowledge and wisdom. Although my critical thinking skills have made leaps and bounds, a degree does not prevent one from crossing paths with forgotten or unseen concepts. My specialization is fine arts, but that hasn’t stopped me from teaching any subject a school asks me to teach.
A few of my math students have been gaining ground in their Mathletics work booklets and are beginning to solve algebraic equations. As many of my students are working on separate modules and are at different grade levels, to review all of the material before class is not realistic. All one needs to solve linear equations is to isolate the variables and use BEDMAS…right? I explained to my students that once they have solved the equation, they can test their answer by inputting the number into the variable. After looking at the solution I wrote on the smartboard, my face heated up. I turned to my students and in a light tone told them, “This answer is wrong. Lesson learned, this is why you check your work!”
After a quick search, I found a fabulous Prezi presentation for solving linear equations. There are great illustrations for the visual students and the sequence of the material to solve algebraic equations is fantastic.
So when would a person use BEDMAS? When solving order of operations not when solving variables. Use the reverse BEDMAS which is SAMDEB when working with algebra. Another explanation of SAMDEB can be found on this teacher’s blog.
Well, now that my students know I am a human being…we can start covering the data module.