Relatively Simple Math Problem Goes Viral on Twitter

July 31, 2019 Updated: July 31, 2019

Yet another relatively simple math problem has gone viral.

Thousands of Twitter users around the world, as of July 28, are scratching their heads over an algebra problem.

The math problem reads: 8 ÷ 2 (2+2) = ?

At least ten thousand people have “liked” or shared the tweet and responded with different answers.

One method shows that one should add the numbers 2 + 2 because they’re in parentheses first. Then one goes from left to right to solve the problem, which would then be 8 ÷ 2 x 4, which would result in an answer of 16.

But others have said that the answer is one.

Wrote one user:

“You need to see the how bracket is created.
There can be two cases:

Case 1:
8 ÷ 2 x (2+2) = 8 ÷ 2 x 4 = 4 x 4 = 16

Case 2 (Given case):
8 ÷ 2(2+2) = 8 ÷ 2(4) = 8 ÷ 8 = 1

RULE is STEP-BY-STEP following of BODMAS (Bracket, Of, Divide, Multiply, Add, Subtract)

Hope it helps!”

Eventually, some people gave up and turned to “the dad of all calculators” Google Calculator to find out the answer, which showed it as 16.

However, according to one person, “PEMDAS is NOT universally accepted. The implicit multiplication on the bracket does indeed take precedent. You are doing a disservice to kids trying to learn mathematical protocols. PEMDAS isn’t the total protocol.”

Are Americans Bad at Math?

It’s been noted that Americans aren’t great at math compared to other developed countries.

“Americans continually score either in the mid- or bottom-tier when it comes to math and science compared to their international peers,” says BigThink. “Students have a fundamental misunderstanding of what math is and what it can do. By viewing it as a language, students and teachers can begin to conceptualize it in easier and more practical ways.”

It says that Americans worry too much about “rote memorization,” and students have a difficult time learning the concepts in sequential order.

“Unlike the more difficult and comprehensive math tests given to test students’ comprehension, this test was for basic numeracy skills. The United States fell behind in 22nd place,” it says.