Math is hard. Thank goodness the internet is here to help! Except that while the internet has a lot of answers, a lot of those answers are wrong.
What’s Up With Math and Internet Outrage?
There’s nothing like a math problem to send the internet into a tizzy, is there? Remember this seemingly correct wrong answer that had people up in arms last fall?
Why did this poor student get a “-1” despite getting the correct answer? After all, 5×3 is 15 last time we checked.
In this case, the reason was in the execution. “5×3″ taken literally should be the number 3 five times, as the teacher noted on this student’s paper. (Oh, that makes so much sense! Or … not.)
And then there was this other problem making the rounds that had people scratching their heads:
[arve url=”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fphoto.php%3Ffbid%3D10205775670504946%26set%3Da.3886338930910.126365.1652018492%26type%3D3&width=500” /]
Horseshoes and horses and boots—oh my!
The answer to this one required use of the old “order of operations” acronym “Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally.” Remember that one?
Hint: If you’re getting 22 as your answer, that is incorrect. Review your order of operations knowledge here, and try again!
(Or just get the answer.)
The Latest Math Problem To Stump The Internet
Below is the latest math problem to have gone viral.
The question was taken from a math test designed for 6- to 7-year-olds, according to TODAY. In the proud, storied tradition of using trains to illustrate math problems, the following conundrum was posed:
I’ll give you a few seconds to think this over.
Think you have the answer? Need more time?
Click to page two to get the answer.
Here’s the question again:
Have you solved it?
Ready for the answer?
The answer is…
So why is the internet so confused?
Well, the question was originally posted on a Parents against Primary Testing Facebook page by a parent who insisted the answer was 46 and deemed the question too hard for students.
Now, of course, 46 is the answer if for some reason the 19 people who got off the train are unaccounted for. What happened to them? I don’t know. I’m trying to solve a math problem, not a missing persons case.
The problem was made worse when Twitter user Louise Bloxham shared an image of the problem repeating the wrong answer (her post has since been deleted), and a viral math problem was born.
But really, the answer is 65.
Want proof? Let’s see how we get there.
As Twitter user Robyn Duckworth explains:
x – 19 + 17 = 63
Therefore x -2 =63
Solve for x and you get x = 65.
— Robyn Duckworth (@DuckworthRobyn) May 8, 2016
Now this post uses algebra to solve the problem, which got even more parents upset. What 7-year-old knows algebra? Heck, I don’t even like algebra. I like to keep my numbers and letters separate, thank you very much.
But the way I view it, it can be solved by using simple addition and subtraction.
If you take 19 and subtract 17, that’s two people, add that to 63 and you have… Wait. I ran out of fingers.
Regardless, all of the people who posted about the answer being 46 have since deleted their posts in embarrassment, so I think we can put this controversy to rest.
And now we can tackle the real question: Why do math writers have an obsession with trains?
Ready for more? Check out this “Wheel of Fortune” puzzle that had everyone scratching their heads not too long ago.
Can you figure it out? The answer is certainly not “Suck it dork.”
Find out here.