See if you can figure out this deceptively simple math equation. If you can, you’ll be ahead of the many, many people online who didn’t.
Here’s the equation: 6 ÷ 2 (1+2) = ?
Now looking at that, can you figure out the answer? It looks simple, right? Did you come up with 0, 1, 3, or 6? Then you got it wrong, and you’re not alone. Turns out the answer is 9.
The reason the answer is 9 has to do with something called “order of operations.” According to your middle school math teacher, we calculate things in order. First, we calculate anything inside of parentheses, so that’s 1 + 2 = 3. Next, we calculate any Multiplication, Division, Addition, or Subtraction outside of the parentheses. So 6 ÷ 2 = 3. Next, we multiply those two numbers together (as indicated by the parentheses). So 3(3) = 9. We always like to remember the order with the neat little acronym PEMDAS.