The Order of Operations Explained: Intro and Mnemonics
Inspired by Jimmie’s daughter’s order of operations mnemonic, I’m finally getting to the series I’ve thought about for a while.
The Order of Operations (OoO for short) is used everywhere in mathematics because it encompasses many of the foundational rules that we’ve agreed to follow.
Alas, students have been given the cheap and dirty version of it for years. “Here, memorize this thing about your Dear Aunt Sally!” What the heck?!
There are subtleties in the Order of Operations that every person over the age of seven should know.
The series begins today.
The order of operations is a set of rules – like the drivers’ handbook for math. If everyone follows the rules, we’ll all be safe. But if someone makes a bad turn, we could be looking at a crash.
But the Order of Operations is only a set of rules for arithmetic! It isn’t even the best practice when it comes to expressions involving a variable like x. I’ll cover what I mean in this weekly series.
Here are the proposed articles:
- Intro and mnemonics
- Exponents, Multiplication and Addition
- Multiplication and Division
- Addition, Subtraction and Conclusions
- (UPDATE) Exponents of Negative Numbers
- (another UPDATE) Another Reason to Ban PEMDAS (aka parenthesis aren’t an operation)
Mnemonics for PEMDAS
Well, there’s one: PEMDAS (pronounced just like it looks). That’s what the cool kids in high school always said. It was the same kids who said “soh-cah-toa” – which I thought sounded really goofy.
And then there’s “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” And of course, Jimmie’s daughter’s “Piranhas Eat Mostly Decayed Antelope Skin”.
What’s your way to remember it?
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