Tag Archives: order of operations

280. BIDMAS & chips – a second helping

Back in post 231, I discussed using a Fish & Chip shop to introduce BIDMAS. I’ve since taught this topic again and written a resource to go with it:

BIDMAS & chips

There are three different menus – if you hand them out correctly no two pupils should have the same menu. Pupils write their names on the front and fold the menu in half so that they can see the price list.

If you go through the activity in post 231, pupils can use their menus to work out totals without copying from each other. You can then get the pupils to gather into the three different shop groups and argue out the misconceptions.

I used this on my first lesson this year with a shared Year 7 class, in front of five PGCE students and it worked a treat!

231. Fish Shop Maths

I’ve been using this idea since I first started teaching and I’ve finally got around to typing it up!


Image Credit:http://coachandhorsesn16.com/eat/fish-n-chips/

I introduce order of operations by creating an imaginary Chip Shop. I usually read out orders and get the students to write down what they think they are on whiteboards. Note that when you read out the orders, the punctuation doesn’t give any hints.

  • ‘Two fish and three chips’ – 2 fish & 3 portions of chips
  • ‘Fish and chips twice’ – 2 fish & 2 portions of chips or 1 fish & 2 portions of chips
  • ‘Five sausage and chips’ – 5 sausages & 5 portions of chips or 5 sausages & 1 portion of chips

This activity always prompts a ‘discussion’ as to who is correct. The misconception of what an order could mean links nicely with the misconception when working out 2 + 3 x 4. You could also adapt the idea for writing algebraic expressions.

A presentation, with questions, is downloadable in three different formats here:

Fish Shop BIDMAS (pptx)

Fish Shop BIDMAS (ppt)

Fish Shop BIDMAS (ppsx)