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Hard Second Grade Math Problem

The Internet is Losing Its Sh*t over This Second Grade Math Problem

Update: After waiting on the edge of our seats, Ayla's math teacher finally revealed the answer to the question that left parents scratching their heads: 42.5. And if that doesn't seem right to you since you really can't have half a dog, you're not alone.

Angie gave POPSUGAR an update after hearing back from the teacher, writing: "The district worded it wrong. The answer would be 42.5, though, if done at an age appropriate grade."

We'll take it!

Original Story: When Angie Werner unzipped her second grade daughter Ayla's backpack on Jan. 24, she expected it to be business as usual when she laid eyes on her math homework. All was going well until Ayla reached one problem in particular that isn't exactly a question most 8-year-olds would understand. Angie decided to ask fellow mamas about it in the Breastfeeding Mama Talk in Private Facebook group, and her suspicion was confirmed: the word problem is actually hard as hell.


The tricky question reads: "There are 49 dogs signed up to compete in the dog show. There are 36 more small dogs than large dogs signed up to compete. How many small dogs are signed up to compete?" And honestly, people are pretty torn on the correct answer.

While the most popular answer to this problem is 36, people aren't exactly confident with that number: "Wouldn't [it] be 49 dogs - 36 small dogs? That make 13 large dogs. So 13 large dogs + 36 small dogs = 49 dogs together. So the answer is 36. It's a trick question lol, right?"

Hm, that doesn't quite add up.

After a long-winded debate, one woman pointed to a previous comment that found yet another possible solution to the problem: "Y'all. A mom above figured it out. We were all wrong. If there is a total of 49 dogs and 36 of them are small dogs then there are 13 large dogs. That means 36 small dogs subtracted by 13 large dogs then there are 23 more small dogs than large dogs. 36-13=23. BOOM!!! WOW! Anyone saying there's half and medium dogs tho just no!"

But apparently, that's not right either.

A few people also suggested that the answer is 42.5, which makes sense mathematically, but is pretty hard to fathom since we're talking about dogs, after all. No one wants half a dog. EVER. "49-36=13. 13/2=6.5. 36+6.5=42.5. That's how I did it in my head. Is that the right way to do it? Lol I haven't done math like this since I was in school!" said one mom.

We're right there with you. As much as we hate to fathom half a dog, if you got 42.5, you've officially mastered second grade math.

Image Source: Angie Werner
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