Adults scratch their heads about three ‘simple’ math questions in primary school.
The first is the seemingly simple equation ‘8 + 2×4 ÷ 2’, while the second is a picture asking you how many triangles you can see in the picture.
The third is a problem where fruits such as apples and bananas represent a numerical value that must be added together to reveal the solution.
But despite targeting children, the problems – collected by Chris Chris Hogbin, education leader at Mathematical Software Solutions, 3P Learning – are trickier than they initially seem.
The questions were shared with Daily Mail Australia in honor of World Maths Day, an international celebration of mathematics that features more than 17,000 schools in 150 countries.
Adults scratch their heads over three primary school math questions (stock image)
1. 8 + 2×4 ÷ 2
While the first equation is ‘8 + 2×4 ÷ 2’, mathematicians say the key to solving it is to read it as ‘8 + ((2 x 4) / 2)’.
The wrong answer is reached when you mix up the order of operations, which is the method used to solve math equations.
Three assignments are given all over the world: PEMDAS, BEDMAS and BODMAS.
These methods are conventional troubleshooting methods and should be followed from left to right.
BODMAS stands for parentheses, sequence, division, multiplication, addition and subtraction.
PEMDAS, on the other hand, stands for parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction. It is often extended with the phrase, “Excuse my dear Aunt Sally.”
In this case ‘exponents’ is the same as ‘order’.
BODMAS stands for parentheses, sequence, division, multiplication, addition and subtraction
PEMDAS stands for parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition and subtraction. It is often extended with the phrase: ‘Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally’
BEDMAS changes the ‘P’ for ‘B’, which stands for parentheses and means the same thing.
Swapping the D and M has no actual value in the order of operation.
An important note in the order of operations – and a major reason why so many arrive at the wrong answer – is that you should either do multiplication and division followed by addition and subtraction based on whichever happens left to right first.
So in all three operations, multiplication has the same priority as division, while subtraction has the same priority as addition.
The answer is 12.
2. How many triangles do you see?
How many triangles do you see?
The correct answer is 12
The second problem is a picture of a triangle segmented by lines, asking you to indicate how many triangles you can see in total.
Most see four triangles, while others see 12 and a few see six, 16, 18 and 22.
The correct answer is 12 – and here’s why.
The only way to form triangles in the figure is if the top corner is part of the triangle.
The base of the triangle will then need to be one of two levels below it, each with the option of six different bases.
This produces 12 or twice six triangles.
3. How many pieces of fruit do you have left?
The third and final question concerns four simple addition problems where numbers are represented by fruits, with hidden numerical values
The third question concerns four simple addition problems where numbers are represented by fruits, with hidden numerical values.
The answers to the first three equations are given, allowing you to work backwards to reveal the numerical value of each fruit: apples, bananas, and cherries.
Three apples equals 60, while two bananas plus one cherry equals 20.
One apple and two bananas are equal to 38.
These answers must then be used to solve the fourth and final equation, which reads: apple + banana + cherry =?
The answer is 31, because apples are 20 (60 divided by three), bananas are nine (18 divided by two), and cherries are two.
World Math Day starts on Wednesday, May 5 and lasts 48 hours.