People Are Confused Over Why A Teacher Marked This Math Problem As Incorrect

"The teacher probably needed coffee or something," wrote a responder to the Reddit post.

Cover image via Reddit & Katerina Holmes/Pexels

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In a world full of knowledge, we often look to our teachers to immerse us into a world beyond our understanding, simply to gain comprehension of some pretty complex topics

In a Reddit post that was recently shared to the sub-Reddit community group, r/Singapore, user u/Lhxlhx attached a picture of a mathematics problem completed by his nephew that left him puzzled.

"Mrs Kim gave five kilogrammes of rice to each family. She gave rice to eight families. How much rice did she give in total?" the question read.

Laying out his problem solving, the user's nephew proceeded to solve the question by writing five multiplied by eight, giving an answer of 40 (5x8=40), which was marked incorrect. In a rather astounding correction, the boy's teacher wrote in red that the proper order was instead eight multiplied by five (8x5), a mere inverse of what he originally wrote.

An image of the question shared by u/Lhxlhx on Reddit.

Image via Reddit

Writing in the caption of his post, u/Lhxlhx stated that he understood why his nephew's final answer was marked as wrong, as the child had forgotten to put the measurement of "kg" in his answer. However, he did not understand why the kid's order of the numbers was marked as incorrect.

"I get the lack of measurement unit (kg), but what's up with the 8x5 and 5x8 being wrong?" he wrote.

Garnering polarising responses, many people chimed in with their own thoughts as to why the paper may have been marked the way it was

In an effort to defend the educator, one user suggested that the teacher may have been on autopilot mode when marking the book, as it may become a blur for teachers who need to clear their materials quickly.

However, the user also encouraged the nephew to check with his teacher on the order, as it may have been a genuine mistake on the educator's part.

"Nothing wrong except the lack of units. Teacher probably needs coffee or something," opined another user.

Image via Reddit
Image via Reddit
Image via Reddit

However, there were also a number of people who stipulated that the user's nephew had conceptually gotten the question wrong, though his literal understanding of it was correct

Explaining their thought processes in the comments section, various users expounded on why the order did matter so as to reason how the final answer was achieved.

"The idea of 'five times of eight' is not the same as 'eight times of five', even though both give the same final answer," penned one user.

Nonetheless, not everyone was as receptive to this idea, as one user stated that this is a strict method of adherence teachers intend to convey to their students when teaching them multiplication.

"I'm not saying I support it, but I've spoken to a friend that is a primary school teacher about this before because this isn't the first time this cropped up," they wrote.

Image via Reddit
Image via Reddit
Image via Reddit

Providing an in-depth working on the question, other users explained how the use of eight multiplied with five (8x5) was the correct order for the answer.

"It's conceptually wrong because it should be eight groups of five, meaning eight sacks of five kilogrammes of rice, thus eight multiplied with five (8x5)," wrote one user.

Image via Reddit
Image via Reddit

One of the most fruitful remarks from the bunch came from a user who commended the teacher for marking the student's work sensibly, saying that the core understanding of Primary Three work is the most important aspect of learning at this point.

"Later on in life, the teacher will teach the properties of multiplication. But in order to make a sensible correct sentence, it has to be strict the first time to make it easier to grasp," they wrote.

Image via Reddit

What do you think of this mathematics question? Do you think the teacher was correct for marking the student this way?

Read the full Reddit post below:

Earlier this year, one Malaysian was shocked to find algebra workings in a Standard One mathematics workbook:

Malaysians have also debated why Bahasa Malaysia is getting more complex for primary school students:

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time adults have spoken out against education standards being far too difficult for young children:

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