Internet scratches its head over math problem

Internet Scratches Its Head Over ‘Can of Worms’ 3rd Grade Math Problem

From lose points technically questionable experiments in science class, there’s a reason our school years pop up in our to dream long after we leave education.

On top of that, we all remember a problem that we’ve really thought about, and it proves it with the current 3rd grade math question that is confusing the internet.

Posted on Redditor’s r/mildlyinfuriating forum u/webguy96 on June 5, the post has received more than 7,000 responses from puzzled users trying to decipher the “ill-formed” equation.

Next to a drawing of three baby birds in a nest, the question reads: “Jared found these baby birds and has to take care of each of them. Each bird eats about four worms a day.

“Approximately how many worms will Jared need to find to feed them all each day?”

The possible answers to the multiple choice question are F.6, H.10, G.4 or J.20.

A 2020 study by Mongoose examined American parents’ understanding of STEM topics, along with how they planned to support their children through adult education. About 55 percent of moms and dads admitted to struggling with math in school, while four in 10 found science challenging.

Mathematics and science were also the two subjects their children found most difficult, with many parents fearing that their lack of knowledge would cause their child to fall behind in distance education. About 72 percent of parents surveyed planned to study STEM subjects with their children so they could support their learning.

Despite being aimed at 8-9 year olds, many users were stunned by the question, believing that there was some context missing from the equation.

“The question also doesn’t say how many days, so you’re missing information to properly solve the problem,” he wrote, pleasantly exhausted.

“The photocopy lets you know that no one has ever bothered to review poorly worded questions like this one,” Mirshe said.

Some Redditors thought the issue was written this way to encourage the kids’ critical thinking skills, but the correct answer wasn’t there.

“Look, I’m all for the concept that people are trying to teach things like this. Estimation is an extremely powerful tool,” extordi noted.

“I think there are three birds, so 12 worms. Rounding up to 10 is probably what they want, but it also means there are undernourished birds. Rounding up to 20 worms will give you almost twice as many worms as you need. .

“A better version would have had 14 and 10 as answers because they are ‘equal distance’ from 12.”

Gary Lloyd, a math teacher based in the UK, agreed that the question is about estimation, but contrary to what many users have suggested, said 20 is the correct answer.

He explained, “20 is my guess, because 10 is too low.

“Even as the birds get bigger, they need more worms.”

Many users found the question a bit short-sighted and expressed concern about the hypothetical birds.

“The kid should call the local animal shelter,” Abyssiphus said. “Mummy birds eat the worms and then puke them in the babies’ mouths.

“I don’t think this kid is ready for bird-level motherhood.”

WarrenMockles agreed, noting, “Well, since the biggest number is 20, it doesn’t look great for the birds.”

While AccidentAnnual concluded, “This question is a can of worms.”

news week has contacted u/webguy96 for comment.

Internet is scratching its head over math problem
A stock photo of an annoyed mother and child with her head in her hands struggling with distance learning. Reddit users disagreed whether the question was “poorly phrased” or “critical thinking” encouraged skills.
Inside Creative House/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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