Which Part

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Crayola® Dry-Erase Crayons make solving complex problems following order of operations colorfully fun and easy. Figure out solutions by over-writing each part of the multi-operational equation with a different crayon color.

  • 1.

    Math computations can include any combination of the four operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Some math solutions require us to use two or more of these operations to find the answer. To avoid confusion and help us know which operation to do first, next, and last, mathematicians have devised a standard order of operations to follow: 1. Solve anything in parentheses, braces, or brackets. 2. Solve any exponential expressions (like 42). 3. Solve multiplication and division parts of the equation, moving left to right. 4. Solve addition and subtraction parts of the equation, moving left to right.

  • 2.

    Introduce the concept of order of operations to your students. Invite students to use a Crayola Dry-Erase Crayon to create a multi-operation equation on a dry-erase surface.

  • 3.

    Demonstrate how to use another Dry-Erase Crayon color to trace over the first part of the problem you want to solve. Write the answer below the equation using the same color.

  • 4.

    Repeat using different colors for each part of the equation. Compare solutions with your classmates. Dry-Erase Crayons erase cleanly so the whiteboard is ready for the next challenge.

  • 5.

    Challenge students to create multi-operational problems for their classmates to solve.


  • LA: Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • MATH Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems.
  • MATH Write and interpret numerical expressions.
  • MATH Apply and extend previous understandings of arithmetic to algebraic expressions.
  • VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.


  • Investigate the “why” of order of operations by using Dry-Erase Crayons and dry-erase boards to solve problems with and without using the standard order of operations process. Compare results.
  • Invite groups of students to become equations! Ask each child to draw a large numeral or operation symbol (+ - x ÷) on a dry-erase board using bold Dry-Erase Crayon colors. Students form an equation by holding their dry-erase boards in front of them for the rest of the class to solve using the standard order of operations process.