Date
25 September 2017
St. Andrew’s Catholic Primary School wants this problem solved by students. Since it went viral on the internet, it has stumped university students and angered parents. Photos: applications.chsc.hk, internet
St. Andrew’s Catholic Primary School wants this problem solved by students. Since it went viral on the internet, it has stumped university students and angered parents. Photos: applications.chsc.hk, internet

This math poser is frustrating students and driving parents mad

You either love this math problem or hate it, but you can’t ignore it because you’re supposed to answer it.

The challenge is to find random numbers from 1 to 9 and substitute the letters with them in a two-part equation without repeating a number.

Then you do the math:

1) Do a subtraction in the first part of the equation.

2) Add the difference to the second part of the equation so that the sum is 111.

This is supposed to “arouse your interest in math”, according to a mathematics panel head of a Hong Kong school, Apple Daily reports.

“It’s not an exam, or a worksheet, not even a homework,” she said.

Fine, but you’re only in primary school.

University students have been stumped by the poser since it went viral on social media.

Yau Man-chi, panel head of mathematics in St. Andrew’s Catholic Primary School, said the exercise is part of its math activity.

It doesn’t matter if the students don’t hand in the solution, she said.

“If they do it correctly, or even have a discussion about it with their parents, they will receive a sticker as a reward.”

Parents are not impressed.

“Does it have to be so hard? What’s the point?” one frustrated netizen-parent said.

A father said his son couldn’t do it, so he had to help and got stuck himself.

“If the work doesn’t have to be handed back, then don’t give it to the students in the first place,” he said.

Apparently, education authorities want this sort of challenge to appear more often in the school syllabus but it’s not for everyone.

Apple Daily asked two students from the University of Hong Kong to solve the problem.

Both gave up in less than 10 minutes.

Yip Chui-wan, a former trainer in Hong Kong Math Olympiad School, said the key is to solve it backwards.

Who knew?

– Contact us at [email protected]

BT/DY/RA

Who knew that the trick is to solve it back to front or from the bottom up? Photo: EJ Insight


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