When a math problem goes completely viral on the internet…I sit up and pay attention. This is an absolutely amazing problem to spark a math discussion in your class. It looks deceptively simple. Let me tell you something…it isn’t! Don’t get overconfident! Take your time and give it a shot right now!
Do you have an answer???
There is an incredibly HUGE chance that you are WRONG…even if you are supremely confident!!
Thousands…literally THOUSANDS of people across the world have been baffled by this simple problem. I’m not talking about just the general population either…I’m talking about MATH TEACHERS, too!!
It’s an example of a super fun way to spark a spirited debate and discussion about math. As people try to justify their answers it leads down wonderful paths to explore.
If you like this way of thinking…taking viral stories and issues from the world around you and using them in class, you are going to absolutely LOVE Instant Relevance by Denis Sheeran (to be clear, the above example is not from the book)! It is our latest book release and it is not only hilarious, but also filled with practical ways to make learning fun and relevant. Many, but not all, of the examples are from math classrooms. It is much more about a mindset, though, as opposed to the math. Always ask, “How can I use that?”
This could be a great way to spark a conversation at the dinner table, too! In fact, that is exactly what we did last night and the results were unbelievable! Total engagement. Total fun. AND…it was all about math!! For more examples of bringing math home in a fun way, check out this TABLE TALK MATH post.
Wait!!! Are you still reading down here because you want to check your answer????
Where would the fun be in that!! If I just let you scroll down and get the answer it takes you off the hook. The fun is in the journey!
But…I will reiterate…YOU ARE PROBABLY WRONG! Don’t look up the answer to this until you have shown it to at least 5 different people (or all of your classes) and you have seen for yourself how outrageously different the answers will be.
It is INSANE!!
Okay…if you get really desperate to know you can beg in the comment section or hit me up on Twitter at @burgessdave.
Remember! This is a problem to be shared and discussed! Some things are WAY more fun when done with others. (Hey! Relax! I’m talking about MATH!)
Let me know how it goes!