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Operations Game

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The purpose of this game is to help students think through different ways of combining numbers using addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, exponents and parentheses, and to evaluate the resulting expressions using proper Order of Operations. Note that this is a shorter version of our One to Ten game.

Object of the Game

To create the target number using the arithmetic operations and the four numbers specified by the computer.

Game Instructions

The computer selects four numbers from one to ten. You must combine these integers, using each one once, to form the target number displayed below the calculator pad. For example, if the computer selects the numbers 9, 3, 4, and 2, and asks you to form the number 52, one possible solution would be: 34 + 9 x 2.

Enter an expression in the space provided, and click '=' or enter when you are ready for the computer to check your expression.

Game Tips

You can combine your numbers to make two or three digit numbers.
You can use parentheses, and you can even have nested parentheses.
Use '^' for an exponent. (2^3 means 2 cubed)

Order Of Operations

Hopefully you have learned PEMDAS, BODMAS, or some other similar mnemonic for order of operations.

I usually remember PEMDAS as "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally", and the letters stand for: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction. This is the proper order for evaluating an expression. For example, if an expression has both parentheses and exponents, you do parentheses first, and then do the exponents.

HOWEVER... many people are unaware that multiplication and division are at the same "priority level," as are addition and subtraction.

In other words, if your expression contains both multiplication and division, you do not necessarily do all the multiplication first, and then all the division; you do them in order from left to right. The same is true for addition and subtraction.

If you would like more review regarding order of operations, Professor Puzzler has shared a more detailed explanation: Order of Operations.

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