The Solver: Blog

The Problem with PEMDAS


I am all for mnemonic devices as they are proven effective memory aids, especially for long-term retention of information.  Two new ones I learned while researching this blog entry are shown below:


Knuckle mnemonic for the number of days in each month of the Gregorian Calendar. Each projecting knuckle represents a 31-day month.

For example, the first 15 digits of the mathematical constant pi (3.14159265358979) can be encoded as "Now I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics"; "Now", having 3 letters, represents the first number, 3.

One of the first mnemonic devices I ever learned was "ROY Grew Blue Indigo Violets" as a way to remember the correct order for the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Indigo, & Violet.  …

Why Johnny Can't Think

The Thinker.jpg

I've spent the last three weeks with a group of brand-new high school students.  These mostly fifteen-year-olds have taught me a great deal about the failings of the American educational system.  Of course I'm not the first to point out that we in the U.S. are not accomplishing what we say we want to in K-12 education; many others have said it before me and many more will continue to say it after me.  …

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