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Mathematician gets plenty of feedback after solving “head scratcher” math equation online
Well this was humbling. And I was so sure, too.
11.10.23 Have you ever found yourself so bored that you turned to a challenging math problem for entertainment?

Well, here’s a brain-teaser that has been making rounds on social media every few years, stumping both kids and adults alike.

## The Equation That Went Viral

The problem in question is the seemingly simple equation: 6÷2(1+2). Despite its straightforward appearance, it has led to a variety of answers, causing confusion and debate.

The YouTube channel MindYourDecision sheds light on this by explaining, “I explain how to get the correct answer by using the modern interpretation of the order of operations.

I also explain how you would get a different answer under historical usage of the division symbol.”

## Back to Basics with PEMDAS

To tackle this problem, we need to revisit the PEMDAS rule, which stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication/Division, and Addition/Subtraction.

Remember, when operations have the same precedence, we solve them from left to right.

So, how do we solve 6÷2(1+2)? The answer is 9, and here’s why.

Keeping PEMDAS in mind, we first solve the equation inside the parentheses: 1 + 2 = 3.

## This changes our equation to 6÷2×3.

Since multiplication and division are of the same priority in PEMDAS, we solve from left to right.

First, we do 6÷2 = 3, and then 3 x 3 = 9.

## Interestingly, MindYourDecisions also explored an older method from a 1917 textbook.

In this approach, after solving the parentheses, you would multiply 2 and 3 first, resulting in 6÷6 = 1.

However, this method is outdated, and the correct modern interpretation gives us 9 as the answer.

This math problem isn’t just a way to pass time; it’s a brain exercise that enhances strategic solving skills.

## Did you figure out the correct answer on your first try?

It’s a great example of how math can be both fun and perplexing.