Aaargh Ruddy BIDMAS


The order of operations is commonly taught using one of the following mnemonics: BIDMAS, BODMAS, BOMDAS, BIMDAS, PEMDAS, PEDMAS or, if you’re Colin Beveridge (@icecolbeveridge) Boodles! (I’m not going to discuss that here, so if you’re interested, do follow the link)

For the first six the letters stand for the following: B: Brackets, P: Parentheses (essentially the same thing) I: Indices, E: Exponents, O: Orders (Again, the same in essence), D: Division, M: Multiplication (Inverse operations) A: Addition, S:Subtraction (Again inverses).

There is a massive problem with these mnemonics, and their use in teaching. I do, however, think it’s down to the teaching rather than the mnemonics themselves, and possibly down to a lack of understanding from some who teach it.

And example of the problem I’m hinting at occurred on Friday with my top set year 8 class. As part of a ten quick questions core skills starter I…

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