Should we stop teaching PEMDAS?

A segment from ABS-CBN’s noontime show “It’s Showtime” has been creating a buzz lately. In the segment “Isang Tanong, Isang Milyon”, the hosts asks a contestant to evaluate the expression “1000 – 500 x 2”. The contestant answers “1000” and wins the round. Netizens, however, cry that the answer is wrong because of that thing called PEMDAS. In fact, the comments in this page reveals that netizens do not only think that the PEMDAS should have been applied, but also that anyone who argues that the answer is 0 is an idiot who was probably sleeping during math class when PEMDAS was taught. Reading the commentsmade me realize that PEMDAS has become a sort of infallible doctrine. Is Showtime wrong in giving 1000 as the right answer? Well, as far the “status quo” is concerned (i.e., of PEMDAS being the golden rule that must not be broken), “1000 – 500 x 2” equals “0”. That’s loud and clear, and there shouldn’t really be any debate about it . That’s what we Filipinos know and accept. Hence, the contestant should have lost the round. Continue reading