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Ants in an Anthill - 2nd Grade Math Problem

Ants in an Anthill - 2nd Grade Math Problem

I've been very frustrated about this all morning.  Bill & I were having a discussion about parents "helping" their children with their homework (aka, doing it for them), so Bill presented a 2nd grade math problem to me.  Here it is:

There are 13 ants in an ant hill.  10 are sleeping.  3 are eating.  9 of the ants woke up.  How many ants are NOT sleeping?

The answer is 12, right?  10 were sleeping, 9 wake up.  9 awake ants.  3 were eating.  9 + 3 = 12, and one is still sleeping, which makes 13 ants total. 

However, the teacher CLAIMS the answer is 4.  They wanted the kids to subtract 9 from 13.  Soething about assuming the eating ants come from the group of ants that woke up.  BUT THAT'S NOT THE WAY THE QUESTION WAS WORDED.  If you wanted to get the answer of 4, you should have asked a different question.  If there were 4 awake, and 1 was still asleep...that's only 5 ants.  Where are the other 8???  Because it clearly states at the beginning of the problem that there are 13 ants in the ant hill.

This has been making me SO MAD for the past two hours, so I'd like to thank Drive listener Tim, who emailed me with a link to explain the problem.  This comes from New York State's Common Core Math Curriculum.  Read for yourself (source material is on page 12):

Read more --> Math Curriculum PDF

 

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