Maths was a subject we all had to do throughout school. No matter how much we hated it, we had to do it every single year. This was so that we could learn basic skills that we can apply to every day life, especially when we reach adult hood!
However, when we reflect… in what world did we really need to know how to divide fractions or learn about Pythagoras’s Theorem?
We can all admit we’ve had a love-hate relationship with maths ever since we started learning it. But, as adults we thought we were through with it… but that’s until we start having kids. This means we have to sit and start helping them with their maths homework. Something we ALL dread because we have clearly decided to lose all the knowledge we had of maths as soon as our final exams were over.
But, here is one maths problem that even the brainiest parents couldn’t understand why it was marked wrong.
The difficulty of this problem wasn’t the issue, instead it was how the teacher decided to mark the answer that stumped a lot of parents.
A picture posted back in the October of 2015 went viral when a student’s maths problem was marked incorrectly…
The maths sheet had a range of different questions and tasks for the children to complete.
The first question asked the student to complete the sum 5 x 3 = and apply the repeated addition strategy in order to do so.
Repeated addition is where you add something over and over again. So, in this scenario with five times three you need to either had five together three times, or three together five times. Both sums will give you the same result.
So, naturally, the child showed how they worked out the sum by writing down 5 + 5 + 5
The boy managed to get the right answer and showed how he worked out the sum. A lot of us would be able to get that answer instantly, but the teacher was looking for a method alongside the right answer. The boy did provide that and the method was correct.
So, what was the issue and why was it still marked wrong?!
Despite arriving at the correct answer, apparently the way he arrived there was incorrect and deserved to be penalised.
The teacher marked him wrong because his addition was 5 + 5 + 5 whereas it should have actually been 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3
Clearly, both equations land at the same result, the teacher still failed to give the child full marks. He even showed that he knew what the ‘repeated addition’ strategy was but still didn’t get full marks for the answer he gave.
Parents began to get confused as to why one equation was favoured over the other and why marks were deducted for selecting the incorrect one.
When you multiply something, you simply add a number a specific amount of times together. So, no matter how the children decided that they were going to add something up together, they were always going to arrive at the same right answer as long as their maths was done correctly.
So, what do you think about this situation? Do you think she shouldn’t have been so harsh and marked it this way?
Judging by the level of maths on the sheet, the child mustn’t have been that old… so why would the teacher penalise him for coming out with the correct answer and showing how he worked it out?!
Whilst we have all put maths to the back of our minds for now, here are some more fun maths facts that you probably didn’t know!
1. If you write out Pi to just two decimal places it actually spells out ‘pie’ backwards
Pi is an irrational number and it goes on forever. There is no repeating pattern in Pi which means that the number will just never end. It was discovered about 4000 years ago, however the well known symbol for pi was only used in the past 300 years.
2. The word ‘hundred’ actually came from the word ‘hundrath’ which is translated to 120 and not 100
According to etymonline, a website able to tell you the origin of all modern-day words, this is where the word came from:
“In Old Norse hundrath meant 120, that is the long hundred of six score, and at a later date, when both the six-score hundred and the five-score hundred were in use, the old or long hundred was styled hundrath tolf-roett … meaning “duodecimal hundred,” and the new or short hundred was called hundrath ti-rætt, meaning “decimal hundred.”
3. 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
Although it seems impossible that this sort of equation could result in this number, you better believe it. Maths is a universal language that we all probably struggle to understand at some points. But, there are so many fascinating things about numbers that we aren’t even aware of yet!
4. In a room of just 23 people, there is a massive 50% chance that two of the people have the same birthday
This is completely fascinating. This is widely known as the birthday problem and shows that there is a 50% chance that in a room of just 23 people, two have the same birthday. The probability rises quickly, with just 70 people in a room there is a 99.9% chance that two people have the same birthday. However, it only managed to reach 100% when there are 367 people in a room since there are only a possible 366 days to have a birthday on (including February the 29th).
5. Zero is the only number that cannot be represented in roman numerals
They thought of absolutely everything the Romans, except how they were going to represent the number zero. It is still well known that Roman numerals are used to this day, especially on clocks etc. But, how did they manage to get by without having a number that represented nothing?! Well, instead of having a symbol for the number, they decided that they were going to have a word instead. They referred to zero as ‘nulla’!
6. We are programmed to think of even numbers as female and odd numbers as male
There is no logic behind this, but in our minds we start to think that even numbers or female and odd numbers are male. This was an ancient belief that was put to the test by James Wilkie and Galen Bodenhausen of Northwestern University.
Another person who investigated this theory, Alex Bellos, wrote in his latest book that:
“They showed respondents randomly assigned pictures of the faces of young babies, each next to a three-digit number that was either odd-odd-odd or even-even-even, and asked them to guess the baby’s sex […] Respondents were about 10 per cent more likely to say that a baby paired with odd numbers was a boy, than if the same baby was paired with even numbers.”
7. The most popular favourite number that people choose in the number seven
An online poll was done by Alex Bellos to investigate people’s favourite numbers. There was no limit on to what your favourite number could be and there is no logic behind why people chose certain numbers. But, out of 3000 people that took part in the poll around 10% of these people, a massive 300 of them, decided that the number seven was their favourite number. The next number in the list was number 3. What is your favourite number?
8. Select any four digit numbers, follow the steps below and you will ALWAYS end up with 6174 as your result
1. Choose a number with four digits. (You need at least two different digits in there for this to work)
2. Arrange the digits in your four digit number in descending and then ascending order
3. Subtract the smaller number from the larger number
4. Repeat this
You will eventually end up with the number 6174, this is otherwise known as Kaprekar’s constant! Try is with different numbers… you will always end up with the same.