# Talk

## Why is my answer not correct?

(62 Posts)
Wed 30-Oct-13 10:02:05

24 pirates.

1/3 found gold

1/4 found rubies

1/2 found neither

How many found gold and rubies?

My calc was 8 found gold, 6 found rubies, 12 found nothing.

So, 14 found gold and rubies.....but 14 + 12 = 26........

Waaah

I love literacy but maths aint my thing.......

reddidi Wed 15-Jan-14 01:59:32

Just to confirm, the use of Venn diagrams to solve this kind of problem is in the Key Stage 2 syllabus.

Also, translating word problems into mathematical concepts is a key skill in Key Stage 2 (and beyond).

IMHO this is a good question - and as he got the right answer, your DS would probably agree!

BerstieSpotts Tue 05-Nov-13 17:05:51

Clearly my knowledge of venn diagrams is lacking I remember covering them in year 5 when we were doing surveys and how to display results. I have never used them to work things out like said here.

Tue 05-Nov-13 08:24:33

I do know how venn diagrams work. It's just using them for this seems backwards to me. If there are 8 in the "gold" circle and 6 in the "rubies" circle, that tells you nothing about how many are in the overlapping circle.

Yes it does, your total has to be 12, but 8+6 = 14 so you know 2 must be in the overlapping section.

Thu 31-Oct-13 10:43:59

Blimey - what year is your DS in?? That's completely flumoxed me!

DismemberedDwerf Thu 31-Oct-13 10:41:18

Blimey, after reading this, doesn't the word "found" look really odd?

Thu 31-Oct-13 10:31:38

Actually, I think the question was deliberately worded as it is. It's to make you think about the question you are being asked. Almost everyone will do the calculation as you did at first, and you then need to realise that, mathematically, your answer cannot be correct. My daughter, for example, would happily have answered '14' without thinking through to the next step.

SO, if your answer is incorrect, you need to review your interpretation of the question and work out what you are actually being asked. If the question was 'How many pirates found both gold and rubies?', you are spoon-feeding the examinee rather than asking them to really think about what they are being asked.

Mind you, it's a bit harsh if this is for 8-yos

Thu 31-Oct-13 10:26:08

Ds is delighted that there are 55 replies to his maths problem!!

Thu 31-Oct-13 10:14:01

I agree there are specific meanings for things in maths. But it seems there is very much a tendency for primary school (at least - don't know much about secondary level) maths and science to be very wordy. I'm not saying there shouldn't be some wordy questions - but the balance seems to be tipped too far that way IMO.

Not all people think in words - some people think visually or just in ideas.

You can easily test maths (even in a written exam) without making it a word puzzle which you have to get through before you get to the actual maths.

Although in my opinion the original question was clear and not too wordy. It clearly asks how many found gold and rubies, not how many found gold and how many found rubies (which is not far off the information you were given to start with).

larrygrylls Thu 31-Oct-13 10:04:14

"Seems to me that being good at English is fundamental to being successful in any subject in our current UK system. Makes it very difficult for those who are late starters with reading and lose confidence in their own abilities"

I think that you need to first access maths through words, as that is the only path in. As you get increasing feel for number and algebra, there are less and less words. On the other hand, in this instance, the precise meaning of "and" and "or" (and later Boulean "nand" and "nor") are almost like symbols in probability and set theory, so just need to be learned, like any other new bits of maths.

Maths does get a lot of time and effort in schools now, and people who start late should get support to catch up. However, I am not sure how much it really happens. I suspect some of it comes down to what parents do very early with respect to counting, sorting objects, asking "mathematical" type questions etc. I can't prove that, though, and I am sure others are far better able to comment on it.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Thu 31-Oct-13 10:00:49

throck Language is very important in math and the teacher would have emphasise the use of small words like OR, AND.... So for the student who is listening the question should be very clear. It seems that the OP's son got it, so no pb there.

There is a math language that you have to learn!

Thu 31-Oct-13 09:43:39

Funny how often maths comes down to being able to understand the language in the question rather than being able to do the maths.

Seems to me that being good at English is fundamental to being successful in any subject in our current UK system. Makes it very difficult for those who are late starters with reading and lose confidence in their own abilities.

SoupDragon Thu 31-Oct-13 09:30:47

Umm, if the answer was 14, the question would have been worded "gold OR rubies". The word "and" implies both

I agree, but the fact that some people misunderstood the wording shows that it wasn't phrased clearly and that is easily rectified.

Ihatespiders Thu 31-Oct-13 09:11:33

With some clearer wording, this is a great puzzle and I shall pinch it for my class!

Makes a change from my usual variations on teachers sharing Quality Street and dropping unsubtle hints that I always eat the purple ones .

larrygrylls Thu 31-Oct-13 08:33:56

To be honest, I personally prefer lots of equations to pictures. However I have come to realise that I am in a tiny minority. Maybe you are in the same minority! The vast majority of people are visual, though.

Also, set theory does eventually become v analytical and symbolic ( most of which I have forgotten). Venn diagrams are the access point to this branch of maths.

BerstieSpotts Thu 31-Oct-13 07:42:39

Yes, ok. I see your point. If you know the total then you can try overlapping them by different amounts and counting to reach the total.

Still it seems long winded But then most things which are supposedly "easier" I seem to find more confusing, I think my brain is just wired to do it in a different way.

larrygrylls Thu 31-Oct-13 07:34:59

Bertie,

If you know the total of rubies only, gold only and rubies and gold is 12, and you know the individual totals. You know that x + middle=6, y + middle=8 and x+y+ middle= 12. That is 3 equations in 3 variables, with the only solution of middle=2. A Venn diagram is a visual representation that most people find easier than solving the equations analytically. This is a fact as children are (or at least were) able to access the set solution long before they could solve 3 simultaneous equations in 3 variables.

Imagine if I introduced a 3rd category (sapphires, for instance) and gave enough info to solve, so 7 equations in 7 variables. 3 overlapping circles is just a v easy visualisation.

BerstieSpotts Wed 30-Oct-13 22:12:00

I do know how venn diagrams work. It's just using them for this seems backwards to me. If there are 8 in the "gold" circle and 6 in the "rubies" circle, that tells you nothing about how many are in the overlapping circle.

larrygrylls Wed 30-Oct-13 11:03:09

It is set theory, albeit v simple set theory.

Wed 30-Oct-13 10:47:51

it's a logic question.

12 found nothing - leaving 12 others.

8 of those found gold - leaving 4 others. Those 4 others are included in the 6 who found rubies - so 2 must have found both gold and rubies.

OR

6 of those found rubies - leaving 6 others. Those 6 others are included in the 8 who found gold - so 2 must have found both gold and rubies.

Whichever way you do it - you come up with 2 who found both.

Viviennemary Wed 30-Oct-13 10:42:44

I'll have a go. 12 didn't find anything. So that leaves 12

8 found gold
6 found rubies

So 14 found something. So how if 12 found nothing. Maths was never my strong point.

larrygrylls Wed 30-Oct-13 10:42:01

"I would find it very hard to calculate or visualise using venn diagrams."

I guess everyone finds different methods easier. However, I suggest that if you lay two big loops (hula hoops or something) on the floor with an overlapping area and you get two different kinds of objects, after a while they become pretty intuitive and easy.

larrygrylls Wed 30-Oct-13 10:39:39

Umm, if the answer was 14, the question would have been worded "gold OR rubies". The word "and" implies both.

BerstieSpotts Wed 30-Oct-13 10:38:21

I would find it very hard to calculate or visualise using venn diagrams. I think I'd have worked it out using the counting method above where it adds up to 26 meaning 2 must have been in two categories.

BerstieSpotts Wed 30-Oct-13 10:37:34

I read the question as how many found both, but I think Soup is right, to eliminate confusion it should have been worded like that.

SoupDragon Wed 30-Oct-13 10:35:29

I suppose the question should be worded "How many found both gold and rubies"

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