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Math is an exact science. We cannot insert "what ifs" or "look at it this way" insinuations to arrive at the correct answer.


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Phyllis Doyle Burns
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Phyllis, the confusion comes about because I was taught in school to do it so that the answer is 1. I taught my children to do it so that the answer is 1.

Today at school I asked a another lady that I worked with about this problem. She is also attending college at the moment and a lot of her work involves math. When I presented the problem to her, she immediately said that the answer was 9. I asked her why and told her that the way I had been taught to do it, the answer should be 1. What she told me really surprised me, because you are right - the rules of math should not change. Tara told me that the way she was taught to do this type of problem in high school was different than the way she was taught to do it in college. In high school, she was taught to do it so that the answer would be 1. When she did these same problems in college, she missed them all. Finally, she asked her professor to explain to her why she was missing them and he told her that they had changed the rules, the answer was now 9.

Because the rules of math should NEVER change is why I am so adamant that the proper answer is 1. What good does it do us to learn how to do all of this math if they can just up and change the rules on us? I realize now that it can be done either way, but I really feel that is wrong - it should only be able to be done in one way.


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Yet the way I was taught, the answer is 9. The way I taught my children and the way they were taught in school, the answer is 9. I still hold to the fact that math is an exact science and a calculation is to be done in the order it is presented. I went to high school over 45 years ago and the way I was taught would give me the answer 9. I do not know what college or professor changed the rules, but I would sure like to see it written down in a current math book.

Last edited by Phyllis-Folk/Myth; 05/10/11 01:41 AM.

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Phyllis Doyle Burns
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How odd. Changing the rules? If so, this hasn't made it here.

I've asked a few mathematically-literate friends about it. Everyone has looked at it and said "one" and given me a strange look that I couldn't work out anything so simple.

I finally asked was one of our math teachers. Answer: one. We discussed why. He said he would also always read the expression 2(1+2) as a short way of writing the cumbersome [(2x1)+(2x2]). Without an operator between the outside 2 and the brackets, it's one expression that you can't break up.

But he teaches children and giving the problem a second look, said some people might misread the whole thing as being equal to 9. But that would be incorrect? Yes. He suggested it would be helpful to enclose the 2(1+2) in further brackets so it wasn't misread. Would you misread it without the brackets? No. Has this changed over the years? No.


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Originally Posted By: Tina - Living Simply
Have you seen this question going round on Facebook? 6�2(1+2)=? What do you think?

Hi Tina, as a child 'BIDMAS' was drummed into us as being the order in which any mathematical conundrum is done with 'BIDMAS' standing for:

B - Brackets first
I - Indices next
D - then Division
M - followed by Multiplication
A - then Addition
S - and finally, Subtraction

Using 'BIDMAS' the answer would be 1. A great thread! (JOY)

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Mona hit the nail on the head "without an operator between the 2 and the (1+2), it is always read as one expression"

There is one division sign. The number or sum to the left of that sign is being divided by the number or sum on the right.

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Mona and Frank,

I wish I had seen your posts at the time you posted them - it would have saved me a lot of misunderstanding I have had with a friend.

Thanks for clearing this equation up.


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Phyllis Doyle Burns
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first you solve small bracket then division operator and yhen multipication
6�2(1+2)
6�2*3
3*3
9
for more welcome to this forum site
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Last edited by Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu; 05/26/12 08:42 AM.
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I think if we first divide then we will get the good results. Although I am very week in maths, But I have heard that first we have to divide then subtract.

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