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Writing & Interpreting Numerical Expressions Song

Learn all about writing and interpreting numerical expressions in this futuristic music video on a planet circling Alpha Centuri. After reviewing numerical expressions, the video then introduces clue words that can help us to interpret expressions, word problems, and more!

Numerical Expressions Lyrics:

Verse 1
A numerical expression’s operations and steps
are found in its words that detail the process.
Look at the grouping symbols to discover
which calculations must be done before another.
Let’s see what I mean with a few examples -
a few numerical expression samples.
But first, a solo on the Bongo… let’s go!

What’s "four times the quotient of twenty and ten"?
Before we multiply, we need to find the quotient;
we put brackets around "twenty divided by ten" -
get "four times two" - "eight" answers the question.

To write and interpret numerical expressions,
we read them closely and ask these questions:
What operations are described in this problem?
And what’s the order in which we will solve them?

Verse 2
What’s "ninety divided by the difference of fourteen and five"?
"Fourteen minus five" gets brackets - their difference is "nine".
The next step is symbolized by the division sign.
Divide "ninety by nine" and "ten’s" the quotient we’ll find.
Let’s see an example - one more time -
with the best rhymes you’re ever, ever gonna find.
But first, a solo on the Bongo… let’s go!

What’s "ten times the sum of forty and fifty-three"?
First put "forty plus fifty-three" in parentheses;
the words tell us to add and get "ninety-three" first -
then "multiply by ten" to end the verse.

When math class is in session
and we read a numerical expression,
word clues can help us choose the operations,
so we can make the correct calculations.

Plus, all, together, in all, total, and sum…
these are all clue words for addition.
How many more, minus, remain, fewer, difference…
are all clue words for subtraction.
By, multiply, times, product, of…
are all clue words for multiplication.
How many times, divide, goes into, quotient…
are all clue words for division.

Learn More

This song targets Common Core learning standards for 5th Grade. Look into the relevant standards here.

If you are interested in getting ideas on how to plan a robust standards-aligned Writing and Interpreting Expressions lesson, we recommend checking out Instructure's recommendations for common core standards 5.OA.2 This page helps break down standard language, lay out the grade-appropriate level of rigor for each concept, and offers a variety of suggestions for activities (lesson seeds) that help students achieve their learning targets.

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