Are you smarter than a 5th grader

I know that Leopard day is upon us and I should be all a flutter about the Apple’s new cat, but everyone is already getting good and sick of hearing about that I expect.

No, tonight I write to share with you my experiences with fifth grade math homework. My daughter, who just happens to be in the fifth grade, brought home some math homework last night which I checked, as I’m sometimes called to do. Now I’m pretty good at math, not great, but I think I can handle fifth grade math. That is until I ran across this question:

Your friend Tamyra is buying a good-bye card for the coach. She bought a card and then returned it, got her money back, and bought a card for $1.50 less. She ended up with $.75 change in her pocket. What was the price of the first card?

It took quite some time before I realized that I was not losing my mind and came to the correct conclusion. My wife was a bit more skeptical, and so she called several friends and relations to see if they could solve the problem. None of them could. Can you?

Have you figured it out yet?

There are three possible answers:

A – The question is nonsense.
B – The card shop has a $.75 restocking fee.
C – Somebody screwed Tamyra out of $.75 in change.

Poor Tamyra.

Next comes the happy ending.

My wife was able to talk to my daughter’s teacher about the problem and found out that the answer is $2.25 according to the key. She gave my wife a bit of good natured ribbing to go along with it, asking if she was smarter than a fifth grader. That is until she read the question herself. To her credit, she didn’t simply give the kids credit for that one if they got it wrong. Well, she did, but she also decided to have a discussion with the class and let them figure out what was wrong with the question and how it needed to be changed so it matched the answer in the key. During the discussion they were able to figure out that the word “less” needed to be removed from the question to make the answer correct.