‘Set up to fail’: Year one maths question has parents and internet stumped

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A deceivingly simple maths question given to US students has left parents scratching their heads.

Texas Mum Tiesha Sanders shared a photo of a page of her child’s year one maths homework with the instruction “Fill in the missing numbers” on Facebook, reports Kidspot.

As you can see, her daughter filled out the “ones” column in the middle table with the number seven.

So when the final part of the question prompted her to write how many “ones” there were, she assumed it was seven again.

‘This is the new math they have us teaching’

Tiesha was confused when her daughter got the question wrong, and contacted her teacher for an explanation.

“Hello, I just wanted to ask how Summer got #3 wrong? Her father and I were going over her mistakes and wanted to be sure we were on the right track,” she wrote below the homework question.

The teacher wrote back: “Hello this is the new math they have us teaching,” before drawing a diagram of the correct answer (below).

“It wants her to know that having two tens and seven ones is the same as 27 ones.”

‘Set up to fail’

Tiesha said in the post that she had been a primary school teacher for six years and had never come across this style of question before.

“This new math is NOT it,” she claimed.

In the 3700 comments on the post, people weighed in with their thoughts and they all tended to agree.

“The hell???????” one person wrote.

Another said, “This is goofy,” while someone else shared, “This would have pissed me off.”

Others called out the flawed structure of the question, saying, “But if they have the box that labels “tens” and “ones” then only ask for the ‘ones’, how in the entire world is this math, mathing?”

Someone agreed, adding, “The question sets them up to fail.”

And another person suggested that the arrows should have been equal signs, to show that all the components were the same.

Instead, the arrows imply that you should build off the components in the previous sections to answer the following ones.

“That’s where this whole question fails,” they said. “In the arrows.”

This article originally appeared on Kidspot and was reproduced with permission.

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