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Adults Are Stumped By A Grade School Maths Problem In Singapore

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“Jess wants 200 ribbons of length 110 centimeters for a party. However, the ribbons were sold at 25 meters per tape. How many tapes will Jess need?” Yahoo News reports many adults find this problem is too tricky. Can you figure it out?

My blog post for this video:
https://wp.me/p6aMk-5l2

Sources
The New Paper Question
http://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/parents-irked-tricky-psle-maths-question

The New Paper Answer
http://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/psle-ribbon-answer

Yahoo News Singapore
https://sg.news.yahoo.com/2017s-psle-maths-ribbon-question-needlessly-tricky-012631653.html

Mothership
https://mothership.sg/2017/10/can-you-solve-this-tricky-2017-psle-math-question-on-ribbons/

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Comments

Martin Andersson says:

Who says math isn't useful in everyday scenarios?
I bought rolls of bitumen to cover a roof last week. The rolls came in 0,5m wide and 5m long. I had to cover 2,4x2m of roof. You don't patch bitumen, because it will leak – so the same solution applied.

Bill Y. says:

Singapore math teachers teach their kids to be SMART . What do we teach our kids in America?

Λ R G O N Λ U T says:

unsubbibbg… too many stupid questions

Windex says:

lol this was in psle 2017 question most people put 9

Michael Dinwiddie says:

How can I get better at answering the types of questions on this channel?

Nicholas Cresswell says:

This kind of problem is where a physicist will always beat a mathematician.

Kalidor says:

9.0909… rolls -> 10 rolls. 10 second problem

chee 777 says:

But to be honest, how is anyone going to combine those tapes in real life to make a ribbon. As an engineer, the thought of it just doesn't make sense. I would rather over estimate than be just nice and risk not meeting the requirements of the task. Therefore I am going with 10 which is the closest to what we will do in real life

Abel Ang says:

I live in Singapore and I am 12 year old. Please… this question is not that tricky. U just have to use your brain

Choi Bruce says:

Lol idk why but when i was reading the question I thought the tape was the same thing as ribbons LOL otherwise it's a pretty normal question

qc1okay says:

Ridiculous. Stop making math videos about English wording. It's a waste of your time and ours. You'll never get people to agree. As an expert in math and English, I can tell you that 9 is the best answer, and it's the answer most experts would agree on. The problem says/implies just as much about allowing cutting of the tapes as it says about allowing gluing of the tapes: NOTHING. So we must stop and picture party ribbons. Is it fine to stick two shorter tapes of ribbon together to make a longer one? Yes, most of the time, since partygoers don't care about perfection of decorations. So Jess can cut the tapes of ribbon apart AND can tape pieces together. This problem most likely started when a teacher gave several examples of combining fractions of items in class and expected students to remember that they could do that – no need to state such on the test question. Then some parent who hadn't been in class saw the question, and things snowballed from there.

Georia Shang says:

the ribbons can be tied together with each other,don't waste your tapes.

Bob Trenwith says:

I really wish you would avoid these click bait titles.

Scarlet 神 says:

the question itself did not specify cleary

Mycroft616 says:

Presh, this has to be said: You missed a golden opportunity to talk about common knowledge. That's the entire basis of this dissent, whether or not the ins and outs of crafting is common knowledge.

The dissent proves it's not common knowledge, but the question is worded under the assumption it is. This was a chance to teach everyone the game theory concept as well as rip into word problems once and for all, and you let it pass. As a result, the comments divided.

random idk says:

Why are you over complicating things

random idk says:

110-25*4= 110-100=10

Tomasz Cyrulik says:

But if the ribbon would be shorter by 9% (from 110cm to 100cm) then the total required amount of tapes could be reduced by 60% (from 10 to 4)… 😉

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