Dusty Sappington often helps her eight-year-old daughter Izzy finish her math homework. But when the third-grader brought home a specific assignment, even mom was stumped. Because she didn’t want her daughter to get the answer wrong, she posted the question onto Reddit to seek help from the internet. But the internet’s smartest people still couldn’t solve it. And the mom from Terry, Mississippi felt vindicated knowing that the question was inappropriate for a third grader.
When Dusty shared the homework assignment online, she snapped a picture of it and wrote: “This third-grade math problem…”
Then she challenged millions of users on the internet to solve it. Here is the challenging grade school question:
“Janell had 15 marbles. She lost some of them. How many does Janell have now?”
Because the question doesn’t say how many marbles Janell lost, the internet agreed that there was no answer to the question. Others claimed that the correct answer should be < 15 or 15 – x. But they thought that was too hard for a child like Izzy to figure out.
“That’s not a fair third-grade question!” Dusty complained. Hundreds of people agreed.
Izzy could not understand how to answer the question about Janell and her marbles. She simply put a question mark in the answer slot. Dusty turned to the internet to get an answer from the geniuses out there.
“If someone can answer this correctly, my child will be done with her homework!”
Dusty admitted that the third-grade teacher gave no further instructions on how to solve the tricky question. Instead, she threw Izzy out with the wolves and told her just to figure it out. Good thing Izzy has a mother who cares about her child’s success in school. Otherwise, Izzy wouldn’t have been able to get it right.
Many users argued that it was impossible to provide a numerical answer because “some” does not indicate anything.
“Today I learned that I’d possibly score less than some 3rd graders on math homework. I used to be so confident and cocky,” user funk_dunk wrote.
Grenadetrade.com said, “The correct answer is, ‘some.’”
Although the correct answer is probably < 15, user kpflowers didn’t think it was fair, writing: “I don’t think that’s a fair 3rd-grade question.”
Because all the other answers were numbers, this question stood out like a sore thumb.
“Come on guys, this is basic grade 3 stuff,” one user joked.
Her daughter’s math homework was so difficult. Not even the internet couldn’t figure it out. HuffingtonPost contacted Dusty for comment.
Dusty told the news source that her daughter goes to a school that specializes in helping children with learning disabilities because she was diagnosed with dyslexia.
“I haven’t found out the answer, but hope to see her graded paper soon,” she told the outlet. “To be honest, I’m unsure if it was printed in error or was a question to test her knowledge of less than and greater than, which she has touched on in the past.”
Do you think it is fair to challenge third graders to perform math problems like this?