The seemingly easy math question was given to six and seven-year olds taking their Year 2 SATs exams.
Every once in a while the internet throws up a crazy math problem that has everyone stumped, and the latest one is a real doozy. What was meant to be a question for six and seven-year-old kids has stumped even parents. They're complaining of their kids crying while taking their Year 2 SATs exams. It was Louise Bloxham from England who unleashed the puzzle on the internet. Bloxham posted an image of the problem and tweeted: Have you seen this one? Year 2!! The question was this: "There were some people on a train. 19 people get off the train at the first stop. 17 people get on the train. Now there are 63 people on the train. How many people were on the train to begin with?" reported The Huffington Post. The seemingly simple problem was not simple at all.
Twitter had a crack at it and came up with all sorts of answers but there were two numbers that stood out among the answers — 46 and 65. The "official" answer to the question was 65 but not everyone was convinced. The 46-faction was adamant that they were right, while the others accused the rest of not paying attention to the problem. The point of contention was what "first stop" meant. The logic they argued was that if the question referred to the first stop in the journey it meant 65 people were on the train to begin with. The 65-faction argued that x = 63 -(17-19) which meant the answer was 65. The other faction meant 63-17 =46. Here are some of the takes on the math problem, with some being downright funny while some others were straight-up rude.
Parents were furious that their children were being given such tough questions.
Ever seen a 6yr old in tears as they think they're stupid as they can't pass a test? When you have come back & tell me sats are important. 😡— Cllr Sandra Squire (@sandrajsquire) May 3, 2016
Another problem that bamboozled the internet was a seemingly straightforward but polarizing equation. The question was what’s the answer to 8 ÷ 2(2+2) =? Twitter users came up with many answers to what seemed like a basic math equation. The answers that dominated were 16 and 1. It wasn’t just Twitter users that were confused though. Even calculators were showing different answers to the same question. The debate got funny and sometimes even heated with one user writing: It’s 16 and if you say otherwise start packing your clown shoes. The "1" faction wasn’t amused either with one user writing: It’s 1. Blowing my mind how people are really debating this it’s fu*king 3rd-grade math.
i have 2 math degrees it’s 1— laur (@genericversion) July 30, 2019
Many mathematicians said the question was set up to deceive. Without sufficient brackets, there was a lot of ambiguity providing scope for multiple interpretations of the equation. As per the rules of Algebra, the answer is 16. We get the same answer even if we analyze the equation as per BODMAS (brackets, order, division, multiplication, addition, subtraction) conventions or the PEMDAS (parentheses, indices, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction). Solving the bracketed addition is the starting point of this equation, which leads us to 8 ÷ 2 x 4 =? Up to this point, everyone agrees. According to both BODMAS and PEMDAS, division and multiplication have the same priority. So going from left to right, we divide 8 by 2 and then you multiply by 4, and thus giving you answer 16.
it’s 16 omg the replies embarrassing...— #JIMIN (@gcfssea) July 28, 2019
1. The amount of people saying 16 need to retake math 😭— 🌼𝕙𝕩𝕟𝕖𝕪𝕓𝕖𝕖. seeing BTS🐝 ⁷ (@BlackSwan875) July 28, 2019
We can look at both the arguments with added brackets to give clarity on the different approaches of users. You could have (8 ÷2)x(2+2), which would equal 16, or you could write it as 8÷[2x(2+2)], which equals 1. Calculators also get it wrong because of the ambiguity of the equation. The equation did give us some funny responses on Twitter.