How good at math are you? Some people hate it, while others love it. Regardless, math is necessary for routine activities such as shopping, banking and telling time.
Yet, many people struggle with math and may even suffer from anxiety when faced with a math problem.
A viral math problem has been circulating the internet recently, no doubt prompting some people to take on the challenge and others to quickly scroll past.
The problem, however, is actually a good reminder of how simple math can be if you know some basic rules.
The math problem is this: 6÷2(1+2)=
Simple, right? The answer is one, or is it nine, or is it something else?
The numbers and operations are simple enough, but to get the correct answer you have to recall a rule called the order of operations.
The order of operations simply states that when working a math problem with multiple operations, the operations are always done in a specific order.
You can remember the order with the acronym PEDMAS/BODMAS: Parenthesis/Brackets, Exponents/Orders, Multiplication/Division, and Addition/Subtraction.
This is sometimes taught as the mnemonic “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” to help students remember the acronym.
The order of operations is used in every equation involving multiple operations, no matter how complex it is, and it works every time.
So, let’s apply the order of operations to our viral math problem and find the correct answer.
Parenthesis are completed first. 1+2=3 and changes the equation to 6÷2(3)=
The parenthesis in 2(3) implies multiplication, so the problem now becomes 6÷2×3=
Multiplication and division are completed next.
If they both occur in the same equation, then they are completed in order from left to right. First 6÷2=3, then 3×3=9.