[Edu-sig] Order of operations confusion

Charles Cossé ccosse at gmail.com
Thu Mar 5 23:19:52 CET 2009

On Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 2:52 PM, Laura Creighton <lac at openend.se> wrote:
> In a message of Thu, 05 Mar 2009 12:51:40 MST, Charles Cossé writes:
> The interesting question (to me at least) is whether he would be willing
> to rewrite a + b + c  as a + c + b
> and then if he would be willing to rewrite
> a + b as a - (-b)

Yes, I confirmed that it was definitely due to having been repeatedly
told the simple rules for order of operations; he observed that "there
was something to be multiplied" and believed that he couldn't proceed
until he had carried out that multiplication, which immediately led to
a gridlock situation for him ... and he would have been okay rewriting
like you did there since there was no multiplication.  Guess it's just
one of those many things that you don't realize kids think until you
come across it ... and then it's a surprise

> Can you ask him?  How old is he, anyway?
> Laura

He is 11, in 6th grade.

AsymptopiaSoftware|Software at theLimit

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