Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally?

While “My Aunt Sally” only has good intentions to help us remember the order of operations, this mnemonic actually ends up hindering some of us along the way…. and so does the acronym PEMDAS.

pemdas pin

The order of operations is actually:

  1. Complete what’s inside the grouping symbols.  We are taught to look for parenthesis (hence the Please in Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally) when we’re first learning how to do the order of operations because parenthesis are the most simple form of grouping symbols.  However, grouping symbols also include brackets and the division bar but somehow these get overlooked.  Maybe we should’ve called this Golly Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.
  2. Exponents.  Complete all exponents.  If there is more than one exponent in a problem, do what’s inside the grouping symbols first and then move from left to right.
  3. Multiply and Divide in order from left to right.  When we are first learning how to do the order of operations, our teachers only give us problems where multiplication is on the left of division in the problem, or there is only one of these operations in the problem.  They think they’re being helpful, but in reality it doesn’t help us understand the fact that you’re supposed to do these two things in order from left to right.  Instead of this helping us, a good chunk of us end up thinking we always do multiplication first…but that’s not at all the truth.  The mnemonic could’ve very well been Please Excuse Dawn Mary And Sam!
  4.  Add and Subtract in order from left to right.  The teachers used the same teaching ideas with Addition and Subtraction.  We’re supposed to do whichever one comes first when reading the problem from the left to the right, but many of us think we always have to add first… all because of Aunt Sally.

While we all know that Aunt Sally only has good intentions, we also know that she can be a tricky devil.  Don’t let her or PEMDAS ruin a good math problem for you!

Win a FREE single subject GED practice test voucher!

At i-Pathways, we believe our product helps change peoples’ lives on a daily basis.  Therefore, we pour our hearts and souls into making our program one of the best high school equivalency test preparation programs available.  We’d like to know what YOU think about i-Pathways!

Has i-Pathways helped you get prepared for your GED?  Are you using i-Pathways in your classroom? Do you know someone who has benefited from using our program?   Have you spoken to the people at our support desk?  Have you attended a webinar where they taught you how to use the specific tools of i-Pathways?  Have you used any of the free professional development offered by the program?  Do you want to tell the world about how you’re using i-Pathways in your life?

Write a review on GED Marketplace and we’ll enter your name into a drawing to win one of ten vouchers for a single subject practice test for the GED.  The vouchers can be transferred to another person.  For example, you could win a voucher to give to your child or a student in your class.  Let us know you’ve written a review between now and August 30th by replying to this post or any post on Facebook or Twitter about the contest.    Thanks so much for participating and good luck!

Accessing Prior Knowledge

Why is it important for students to access their prior knowledge?  As teachers we want to get them thinking about what they have learned in the past about a specific topic.  This may be something they’ve learned in school, at home, at work, etc. When this happens, they can more easily connect what they already know to what you are learning in the class.  It makes learning the content seem easier if they’ve had experiences with it and already know something about it. It’s our job to help them recall this information so that they can build on their prior knowledge.

How do we help students access their prior knowledge?  Anything teachers can do to get the learners thinking about the topic and what they’ve learned about it in the past will be helpful to them.  Sometimes people use anchor charts, like a KWL (What do I know, what do I want to know, what did I learn) chart,  brainstorm as a group, take a survey, or set up stations that utilize the prior knowledge.

I’ve created a matching activity that can be used to access prior knowledge using the Key Terms from the Modern and Historical Governments lesson in the Civics and Government unit of the Social Studies module in i-Pathways.  Here is a link to the document for the activity described in this video.   Enjoy and let us know how it goes for you!

Is Earning a High School Equivelancy Certificate Your New Year’s Resolution?

It’s that time of year. Time to start acting on our New Year’s Resolution. These resolutions often include major life changes. The most popular resolutions include the following:

  • loosing weightScreen Shot 2017-01-02 at 2.29.43 PM.png
  • getting organized
  • spending less, saving mor
  • enjoying life to the fullest
  • staying fit and healthy
  • learning something exciting
  • quiting smoking
  • helping others reach their dreams
  • falling in love, and
  • spending more time with family.

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What does it mean to lead?

Supporting student success is an ambiguous statement. What does that really mean? Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 12.18.28 PM.pngToday, WIOA mandates that we prepare every student to become a life-long learner capable of entering higher education or a sustainable career. This is a daunting task that is not up to the instructors alone. Ensuring students are capable of reaching important milestones is also the responsibility of educational leaders.

With the increasing cultural, social, economic, and instructional diversity of all students, creating customized learning environments is challenging. Furthermore, the switch from a structured school with traditional course sequencing is changing to a more fluid, customized, and dynamic learning community with the boundaries between higher education and the workplace blurring. We are expecting our staff to step into unchartered territory, which can be uncomfortable – possibly unfamiliar – and effectively facilitate learning for adults who are often the most vulnerable members of our communities. To accommodate these needs and changes, education administrators must develop different skills to be effective in leading transformational change.

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