This Fifth Grade Math Problem Is Stumping Everybody — Can You Solve It?

It’s time to test your knowledge with math questions that you probably could’ve aced in fifth grade. This one will prove if you are, in fact, smarter than a fifth grader! This math problem is stumping everyone on the Internet right now. So many of us have forgotten a lot of what we learned when we were younger. But maybe you could solve it!

The math equation is “9 – 3 ÷ 1/3 + 1 = ?” and the best way to solve it is by using the mnemonic device PEMDAS (or Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally) that many of us learned in school. PEMDAS stands for “parenthesis, exponents, multiplication & division, addition & subtraction,” and it’s a device used to help kids remember the order of operations!

However, there’s a twist to this one (audible groan). Many people have landed on 9 as the answer, but this is not correct. You’ll have to follow PEMDAS closely to avoid the pitfall!

So, what is the answer? Surprisingly, it’s 1. How do you get this answer? TipHero explains it as follows.

“What you want to do here is start over by tackling 3 ÷ 1/3 first, and no, you’re not supposed to multiply here. Divide! Hint: 3 divided by 1/3 is actually 9. Take it from there. Using a calculator, it’s likely that it will read that relationship between 3 and 1/3 as a funky way to arrive at 1 before working out the rest of the equation. If you did that too, we understand how you arrived at your final answer.”

Reader’s Digest also adds, “Now, the PEMDAS rules call for you to solve all addition and subtraction problems in the order they appear. So instead of adding first, you will solve the equation from left to right.”

“If you still need a visual explanation of how to solve the problem, check out the video [not included], which pulls the division component from the middle, showing how to solve 3 ÷ 1/3, which becomes 3/1 ÷ 1/3, which equals 9. Once you’ve solved that, you can move from left to right with the operations: 9-9+1. 9-9 is 0, add that to 1 and your answer is 1.”

Now, if you struggled to do math in school, this might be just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo to you. However, try your best and see if you can come out with 1 as the answer! One person commented something surprising that might either confuse you or help you.

“It’s simple…FRACTIONS. Division is inverted. Cancel and multiply…this is done before any subtracting…so, take the middle…3/1 divided by 1/3. This is the same a 3/1 X 3/1 which is 9. Now put this back into the equation…9-9+1 = 1. Simple…if you remember your fractions.”

Can you solve this math problem? Please SHARE this with your friends and family and find out if they can solve it too!

Check out the video below on one of the hardest SAT math problems ever:

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This story originally appeared at Do You Remember by Jane Kenney.

Whoa, This Controversial Math App Can Solve Equations Using a Smartphone Camera: Click “Next” below!

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