Chinese 5th Graders Vs Twitter Users: Who’s Better at Math?

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Over the weekend users went crazy about a math problem for Chinese 5th graders.

Adults across the web tried wrapping their heads around a question that translates as follows: “If a ship had 26 sheep and 10 goats onboard, how old is the ship’s captain?”

Those familiar with the infamous Monty Hall problem can relate to the difficulty of the question. However, this time around it’s not the goat hiding behind the door, but a flock of sheep sailing on a ship (no pun intended).

The Chinese math problem has got viral on . Trying to find the relation between the amount of cargo and the captain’s age, users put forward the craziest of suggestions. Here are just a few:

The Solution to the Chinese Math Problem for 5th Graders

One of the Weibo users (Chinese microblogging service) came up with a seemingly correct solution. Here’s how he crunched the numbers to find out captain’s age (the translation kindly provided by BBC):

“The total weight of 26 sheep and 10 goats is 7,700kg, based on the average weight of each animal. In China, if you’re driving a ship that has more than 5,000kg of cargo you need to have possessed a boat license for five years. The minimum age for getting a boat license is 23, so he’s at least 28.”

Who would have thought, right?

Critical Thinking, Anyone?

After the math problem had caused quite a stir on , the Chinese Department of Education released a statement. The translation kindly provided by BBC, explains that the problem aimed to “examine […] critical awareness and an ability to think independently.”

Obviously, the point of the question was to provoke students into giving their own answers.

Encouraging the 5th graders to investigate the matter deeper is a great way to teach them independent thinking. However, very few users actually went Sherlock on this one!

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Chinese 5th Graders Vs Twitter Users: Who's Better at Math?
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Chinese 5th Graders Vs Twitter Users: Who's Better at Math?
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Over the weekend Twitter users went crazy about a math problem for Chinese 5th graders.
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