Everyday Heroes

Everyday Hero: Police Officer Helps 10-Year-Old Girl With Math Homework

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People always say that we never use the order of operations outside of math class, but that was not true for Marion, Ohio, police officer B.J. Gruber, who found a 10-year-old girl asking for math help from the police Facebook page and decided to help her out.

According to CNN, 10-year-old Lena Draper needed math help, and she went on Facebook to ask the police for some math advice. When Gruber saw her message, he wrote back to ask what he could do to help.

Draper responded that she didn’t know how to handle (8+29) x 15, and Gruber did not just give her the answer,  but properly explained that she should do the math in the parentheses first.

Then Draper gave him another problem that was a bit more difficult, and she asked how to handle (90+27) + (29+15) x 2. For that one, Draper told her to do the math in the parentheses first, then add the two sums together and multiply by two. That wasn’t quite correct, though. It was right to do the math in parentheses first, but the order of operations says multiplication comes before addition, so she should have done the math in the parnetheses, then multiplied the sum on the right by two, then added the sum on the left.

When Draper’s mother found the exchange, she posted it to Facebook, partly to show appreciation for the police department and Lt. Gruber, and partly because it is hilarious. When she did that, a couple of her friends noticed the error, so Lena was able to fix it before she handed the assignment in. Gruber says next time he’ll use one of his “life lines” for math questions, because he says he’s more of a history, civics, and social studies guy.