Students are divided into groups of six. Each group will get a copy of the PEMDAS Tower Nets worksheets. Each student in the group will cut out and fold one of the six prisms. If there are less than six in the group, then have some students cut and fold two prisms. Use the tape to hold the prism together. Stress to the students the importance of being as accurate as possible when cutting, folding and taping. Once the students are done cutting, folding and taping, have them use the prisms they created to form a PEMDAS (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally) Tower.
When all of the groups have their PEMDAS Tower built, select one student in each group to volunteer to do the next portion of the activity. You, as the teacher need to lead a discussion about the Tower and why M/D and A/S are two separate cubes. Talk about why the Tower is vertical and why the P is at the top. Use this time to have a class discussion about PEMDAS.
Now have the volunteer from each group put the Tower in front of him/her. Say "I want you to act like you are going to grab the D cube.....don't touch it, just act like you are going to grab it. On the count of three, I want you to take the D cube out. Ready? ONE.....TWO......THREE!!"
At this time, talk about what happened to the Tower. Why did the Tower fall? Would it have fallen if we took the M, A, S or even the E out first? What significance does this have to using PEMDAS in working math problems?