<Here's a question that a student asked that has prompted an interesting discussion among our math teachers. He said, "Can you give me an 'everyday, real-life' example of where I would need to use the 'order of operations' that you're teaching us?">
Many calculators and all computer use the order of operations. When planning spreadsheets or doing any programming, knowing the order of operations would be imparitive.
< Isn't it possible that we COULD agree to do our math IN ORDER from left-to-right, as long as we all agree to that?>
We would have major problems if we did this. The properties we use (i.e. associative, communitative, distributive, etc.) would no longer be valid. Simply changing the order of the numbers being computed would change the value of the number sentence.