Connections: How do we use the math we're taught in school?

May 7, 2021

A grade-school math problem went viral last month when math teachers around the world couldn't agree on how to find the answer. The equation was short, and seemingly called for the old formula of PEMDAS. So why was it so confusing? And if math teachers can't agree, can the rest of us assume we've learned enough math to practically apply it?

We have some fun with math and explore how we do, and don't, use what we were taught in school. Our guests:

  • Amanda Tucker, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Rochester
  • Ajamu Kitwana, vice president and director of community impact at ESL Federal Credit Union
  • Brian Koberlein, astrophysicist and science writer with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory