Quandaries
and Queries 

Niece has a question that was marked wrong but we are unable to determine how the teacher calculated and arrived at the answer? The problem was as follows: 50 / 5x  y = x=5 We and niece come up with 1, while the teacher marked the correct answer as 9. Can you help explain how she arrived at this answer? Thanks for any help. Rick 

Hi Rick, I find questions like this really annoying. It's like reading an English sentence that need a comma to make the meaning clear. Students in school are sometimes taught a a rule called BEDMAS or PEDMAS. It indicates the order of operations in a mathematical expression.
If you follow this rule for your expression, there are no brackets or exponents so first you perform and divisions
Next the multiplication
and then the subtraction
This procedure gives 50 / 5x  y = 49 when x=5 and y=1. Your niece performed the multiplication first.
then the division
and then the subtraction
This procedure gives 50 / 5x  y = 1 when x=5 and y=1. I don't see how to get an answer of 9. I suppose you could perform the operations in the order
that is the multiplication, then subtraction and finally division but this doesn't give 9 either. I think there must be a typo somewhere. I don't know any mathematician who would write 50/5x  y. We would all write it as
or
so that the meaning was clear. Harley Rick, The answer of 1 appears correct to me as well. Perhaps there was a typo in the original question and y was supposed to be 11 and not 1, as this would yield an answer of 9. Leeanne 

