This common math problem went viral in Japan for an interesting reason. It was found, in a recent study, that only 60% of Japanese people in their 20s could find the correct answer to this problem. That may not seem that bad, but this is down from 90% in the 1980s.
The culprit behind this problem. Probably the increased use of calculators. They are on every phone and that makes it easy for students to rely on them to find an answer to a simple math problem like the one above. However, enter this simple question into a calculator and it will give you the wrong answer.
Simple? Yes. This problem is simple if one knows about the Order of Operations, a math skill taught in the 4th grade. If you don’t remember learning the order of operations in school, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not something that is easy to remember.
Here is a quick review!
Order of Operations (PEMDAS):
- Parenthesis ( )
- Exponents x^2
- Multiplication / Division
- Addition / Subtraction
(In the case of multiplication and division or addition and subtraction, work from the left to the right.)
Now that you know the order of operations, see if you can answer the question and then check your answer with the video below!
[h/t: Simple Capacity]