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Friday, September 20, 2013

3rd Grade Math -- Really?

We are 27 school days into the new near. Sub jobs normally show up slowly the first three weeks. I have already put in 13 subbing days and I have 7 future assignments booked over the next two weeks.

Since I just dropped a bank vault load of money into car maintenance and repair, I'm grateful for the fast start but also tired of working almost every day. I wonder what is going on in the school district that has so many substitute covered vacancies so soon?

Anyway, today's class of 3rd graders presented me with the following math problem from last night's homework.

After reading (...and re-reading it a few times), using a pencil to write down stuff as I carefully and slowly read each sentence, I finally figured out the answer to #15....I think.

I invite you to give it a go and post your answer in the comments section. Please include the number of times you had to re-read it and the total time it took you to get it.

(I'll hold off posting all responses until a week from today to foil the cheaters who might be tempted to peek.)

(click to enlarge)

9/25/2013 update:
Judging by the comments, we seem to have a pretty bright readership group here.
898 is the correct answer, but I would not expect the average 3rd grader to reason it out without help.


Liz A. said...


This must be due to the new Common Core thing.

Okay, so it took me about a minute to do. But, I read it yesterday while I was going through my blogs, then set it aside until I had more time to comment to blogs.

I read it through three to four times, the last time just now when I had my mind set on doing it.

Diana Bukowski said...

I read it 2x and think the answer is 898. Am I right?

Megan Patrick said...

898? That's what I got from it. I am surprised it was a 3rd grade question, though-- it took a lot of thought on my part.

Anonymous said...

#13 Answer is 4. Did this one time

#14 Answer is 10. Did this one time

$15 Answer is 898. Did it once, read it over twice to make sure.

The number is between 100-999.
You have 3 positions to fill. The only two digits that aren't next to each other are in position 1 & 3. The tens digit can not be greater, which I assume means it's the largest number which is 9. So 9 goes in the 2nd position which is the tens digit. And it says the tens digit is one more than the hundreds digit, which must be 8. So 8 goes into the 1st & 3rd position.

Karen Greenberg said...

I LOVE those math problems! When I teach math, I work hard to convince my students that math is just a game or puzzle and their attitude will determine how they approach the problems. This supports my thoughts exactly and really gets kids thinking about numbers.

Anonymous said...

898 :)

One read-through

Anonymous said...


Alex Valencic said...

Read it once and figured out it was 898. "The tens digit cannot be greater and is one more than the hundreds digit" gives it away.

Of course, I teach fourth grade and am used to puzzles like this. And yes, I do think third graders can do it, with the expectation that they will have to puzzle it out with guess-and-check.