Sky News presenter Anna Botting has been ‘stumped’ by another of her daughter’s maths homework questions.
Reaching out to her Twitter 32,000 followers, the Oxford-educated host asked for help with the latest head-scratcher brought home by her 10-year-old.
In response to Rishi Sunak’s pledge to make maths compulsory for every student up to the age of 18, adults have been sharing children’s maths quizzes online and Ms Botting shared another last week after the PM made the announcement.
The maths homework question that Sky News’ Anna Botting needed help to solve
Sky News presenter Anna Botting reached out for help on Twitter with her 10-year-old daughter’s maths homework which left her ‘stumped’
So MailOnline asks, can you solve a 10-year-old’s maths homework?
The maths question cleary kept Sky News at 10 presenter Ms Botting up all night as she pleaded for help on Twitter at 3.15am this morning.
‘Stumped on another one… (they’ve not yet been taught algebra)… #mathshelp,’ she tweeted.
What is the question?
There are 5 times as may pens in box A than box B.
Tom moves 76 pens from box A to box B.
Both boxes now have the same number of pens.
How many pens are in box A now?
What is the internet saying?
Not long after the post Twitter user @jleuchtman posted that he though the answer was 95. A few minutes later he posted his second guess of 76.
Both his answers were incorrect.
A pilot, who goes on Twitter as ‘plane driver plane talker’, didn’t even try to answer the question, writing: ‘I fly planes for a job, and this hurts.’
Another Twitter user Ivan Rai posted that he thought the answer was 95. Also incorrect.
But TV director Jonathan Glazier posted a proof showing the correct answer – 114.
What is the answer and how do you work it out?
One way to work out the answer is to turn the question into simultaneous algebra equations.
In the equations use a to be the initial number of pens in box A and b to be in the initial number of pens in box B.
As there are five times as many pens in box A than B and when you take 76 pens out of box A and put them in box B they are equal, to get the two equations.
From here you add 76 to both sides of the equation on the right, so that both equations equal a,which results in:
As both equations now equal a, you can then merge the equations to:
As 5 x b is really just b + b + b + b + b you can take away one b from both sides:
If you then divide 152 by four you get the value of b:
As the number of pens in both boxes is just b (the initial number in box B) plus 76, we can easily work this out.
The answer is 114 pens in both boxes, but if you want to be extra sure you can also work out a, and therefore what that number is when you take out 76 pens.
- a = 5 x b
- a = 5 x 38
- a = 190
- 190 – 76 = 14
‘Mrs H’ on Twitter came up with an ingenious alternative way to solve the problem
But if algebra is not your strong suit, Twitter user ‘Mrs H’ figured out an ingenious way to model the problem using a graph.
She drew box A as five equal squares and box B as one square which has two squares from box A with 76 pens in total between them transferred over.
Therefore boxes A and B both have three equal squares representing a number of pens.
As two of the squares are 76 pens, she figured out that one square is worth:
As both boxes now have three squares and she knows one is worth 38, she multiplied 38 by 3.
Therefore, boxes A and B both now have 114 pens each.
Rishi Sunak’s ‘big idea’ of making maths compulsory to the age of 18 was mocked last week as a ‘dead cat’ to distract from the NHS crisis and winter of discontent
It comes after Mr Sunak’s ‘big idea’ of making maths compulsory to the age of 18 was mocked last week as a ‘dead cat’ to distract from the NHS crisis and winter of discontent.
In his first major speech as PM on January 4, Mr Sunak promised to equip children for the ‘jobs of the future’ by combating high rates of innumeracy in the UK.
Young people will be forced to take ‘some form’ of maths delivered either through new courses or existing qualifications such as A-levels, T-levels and Core Maths. For most the drive is likely to involve practical skills rather than algebra.
But Opposition parties dismissed the initiative as ’empty’ – while Tories urged Mr Sunak to focus on tackling illegal immigration instead.
Nigel Farage swiped that ‘quadratic equations’ would not help fix ‘broken Britain’.
Nigel Farage swiped that ‘quadratic equations’ would not help fix ‘broken Britain’
Former Cabinet minister John Redwood urged Mr Sunak to focus on tackling illegal immigration and the Channel crisis
Around eight million adults in England have numeracy skills expected of primary school children, according to Government figures.
Currently only around half of 16 to 19 year-olds study maths in some form. The problem is particularly acute for disadvantaged pupils, 60 per cent of whom do not have basic maths skills at age 16.
Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said the Prime Minister ‘needs to show his working’, as ‘he cannot deliver this reheated, empty pledge without more maths teachers’.
She added: ‘Yet the Government has missed their target for new maths teachers year after year, with existing teachers leaving in their droves.’
A Labour source said: ‘In their desperation to ensure Sunak’s speech doesn’t happen after Keir’s, No 10 have revealed they have nothing to offer the country except… double maths.
‘As the health service falls to pieces after 12 years of Tory rule, criminals terrorise the streets, and working people worry how their wages will last the month, the country is entitled to ask: is this it?’
Former Cabinet minister John Redwood tweeted: ‘As the Prime Minister turns his attention to maths teaching he should not forget his choice as most pressing priority was to stop illegal migration.
‘Parliament needs to legislate urgently on small boats and public services.’
Mr Farage also waded in, saying: ‘So Rishi Sunak’s big idea to save the nation is maths until the age of 18! How will quadratic equations help to solve broken Britain?’