Order of Operations

Last week we did some work in Maths about BODMAS. The grade six Maths curriculum focuses on exploring the use of brackets and the order of operations to solve equations.

Order of operations

Curriculum statement from the Australian Curriculum for Year 6


When you have an equation like 10 – 3 x 2 which part of this do you solve first? Do you work out 10 – 3 first and then multiply the answer by 3 or do you work out 3 x 2 and subtract the answer from 10? The order of operations helps to make this decision easy.

Order of operations 1

Definition taken from the Australian Curriculum glossary

We created a diagram to help us remember the order in which we need to solve equations that contain more than one operator. First come brackets. Next is orders. Orders are exponents such as powers and roots. Next come division and multiplication. They rank equally so in our diagram we sat them side by side with an arrow to remind us that we go left to right. Last comes addition and subtraction. They also rank equally and left to right is important.


Our Order of Operations diagram

We used our new knowledge about brackets and order of operations to have a go at maths challenge where we were able to use only four 4’s, brackets and the operators + – x ÷ to create equations with as many different answers as we could. We also found a great game to play that helped us practise using our order of operations knowledge.

Have you had a go at the four 4’s challenge? What equations can you make? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.