Disorder of Operations

I keep seeing this problem on Facebook, and others like it.  I can’t help it – every time it appears on my “wall” I have to glance at the comments and weigh in, taking the opportunity to teach a mini lesson in my own comment… now, I am not a statistician, but my eyeballs tell me at least 75% of folks that contribute an answer on Facebook are wrong.

I took a screenshot of this problem and put it on a recent math test for my 8th graders, and quite a few of them missed it too!  What is it that coerces adults who may be rusty on “Order of Operations” AND eighth graders who have very recently reviewed the concept to get this thing so wrong?  (Most popular wrong answer, according to my eyeballs, is 1)

Thoughts?  Is it the number choice?  The operations?  Do people have something against Aunt Sally?



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