Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Bowling Over the Order of Operations

Amelia McCurdy
Santa Rosa District Schools


After learning how to solve equations using the order of operations, students will use their skills to create equations that will -knock down bowling pins-.


The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling;-correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and semicolons;-correct common usage, including subject/verb agreement, common noun/pronoun agreement, common possessive forms, and with a variety of sentence structures,including parallel structure; and-correct formatting.

The student knows that a citizen is a legally recognized member of the United States who has certain rights and privileges and certain responsibilities (e.g., privileges such as the right to vote and hold public office and responsibilities such as respecting the law, voting, paying taxes, and serving on juries).

The student solves real-world problems involving whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and common percents using one or two-step problems.

The student solves real-world problems involving percents (for example, discounts, simple interest, taxes, tips).

The student knows the appropriate operations to solve real-world problems involving integers, ratios, rates, proportions, numbers expressed as percents, decimals, and fractions.

The student solves real-world problems involving integers, ratios, proportions, numbers expressed as percents, decimals, and fractions in two- or three-step problems.


-Order of Operations problems (worksheet or textbook)
-Calculators without the Order of Operations programmed into them
-Math Bowling Worksheet (see attachment)
-Math Bowling Transparency (see attachment)
-Three dice


1. Select problems for practicing the order of operations. You may use the textbook or a worksheet.
2. Copy Math Bowling Worksheet. (See attached file.)
3. Make Math Bowling Transparency or draw it on the board. (See attached file)
4. Gather 3 dice.
5. Gather a classroom set of calculators without the order of operations programmed. (Optional)


1. Give students the following problem and ask them which answer is correct. 8 + 4/2, does it equal 10 or 6? Warn students to be prepared to defend their answers.

2. After discussing their solutions, have students rework the problem using calculators since students believe a calculator is always correct.

3. Explain that the different results are due to the order in which the equation was worked. In order for mathematicians and scientists to communicate accurately with numbers, they must agree to the steps, or order in which to perform the operations.

4. Explain the order of operations and work a few examples. Have students solve a few problems on their own. When you feel the students are ready, assign a seatwork assignment out of the textbook or from
a worksheet. Students need to practice this skill before they can apply it to math bowling.

5. Discuss seatwork.

6. Now we are ready to bowl. We will roll the dice to obtain 3 numbers. Using the parenthesis, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, students will write equations that will equal a whole number from 1-10. The equation will knock down the pin. The numbers may be used in any order. All three numbers must be used.

7. For example, we rolled 2, 3, and 4. Using our example,
4 - 3 + 2 = 3, I just knocked down the 3 pin. Using 4/2 + 3 = 5,
I just knocked down the 5 pin. (note: the same operation may be used in an equation.) The goal is to get a strike in which 10 equations have been written to knock down all 10 pins using the first set of numbers. After a few minutes of trying for a strike, ask students if they would like to try for a spare. For a spare, we roll a second time. The first numbers are void, and students may only use the numbers generated from the second roll.

8. Walk around and observe student work. Point out any errors. Praise students for creative thinking.

9. The first person to correctly knock down all 10 pins, wins. I give a candy prize to help motivate students. Share solutions. There are generally several ways to knock down the same pin.


1. Check student seatwork.
2. Students draw a teaching diagram/flowchart depicting the order of steps they should take to evaluate an expression. The diagram/flowchart should explain the order of operations in such a way that someone could learn from their poster. Students should include the following example with their step-by-step instructions:
Solve 7[5+(13-4)/3]

Scoring Rubric
3 pts- Excellent explanation AND 56 as the solution
2 pts- Incomplete explanation OR solution is incorrect
1 pt - Incomplete explanation AND solution is incorrect

Example of a 3pt diagram:
How to use Order of Operations to solve 7[5+(13-4)/3] =

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally
Parenthesis begin with inner most grouping symbol
Multiply and Divide from left to right
Add and Subtract from left to right

7[5+(9)/3] = simplify inside the parenthesis first
next simplify inside the brackets,
7[5+ 3] = multiply and divide from left to right
7[8] = add and subtract from left to right
next, finish the problem,


I use this game throughout the year as a filler for the last 10-15 minutes of class. It is a wonderful activity for parent night!
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