The Math Puzzle That Stumps Even the Youngest Minds: Unraveling the Curious Case of 19 + 45

Noah Silverbrook

Updated Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at 12:00 AM CDT

Have you ever come across a math problem that made you scratch your head and wonder how on earth to solve it? Well, you're not alone. A recent image shared on Reddit titled "My daughter can't be bothered with these questions I guess" has sparked a lively discussion among math enthusiasts and parents alike.

The image features a math worksheet with two addition problems. The first problem reads "1. 19 + 45 = ?" with the correct sum written below as "64". However, what's intriguing is the instruction below the calculation: "Tell how you know." It seems that the young student simply wrote, "I just know."

Now, this response might seem puzzling at first. How can someone "just know" the answer to a math problem without providing any explanation? But let's not judge too quickly. Sometimes, young minds have their own unique ways of approaching problems.

To further complicate matters, the image also showcases two attempted strategies to prove the addition correct. On the right side, there are tallies grouped in fives, leading up to the number '33'. An arrow labeled "+10" points to this number, suggesting an unsuccessful strategy. On the left side, there's a ten-frame partially filled with dots and some strokes resembling tallies or counting marks.

As we delve deeper into the comments section, we encounter a variety of reactions. Some express frustration with the question, while others reminisce about their own math struggles. One retired teacher highlights the importance of encouraging students to think about their reasoning, as it helps them tackle more complex problems in the future.

In an attempt to shed some light on the math problem, we can turn to algebraic principles. By applying the Commutative Property of Addition and the Addition of Whole Numbers, we can see that (19 + 45) does indeed equal 64. Basic arithmetic and properties of numbers provide a straightforward path to the correct solution.

However, the second problem on the worksheet, "2. 48 + 24 = ?", poses a different challenge. The sum has been incorrectly filled out as "73", indicating a potential misunderstanding. The student again employs tallies and a ten-frame strategy, but these images are faded and inconclusive.

In the end, this image serves as a reminder that math can be a journey of discovery for young minds. While some may approach problems in unconventional ways, it's crucial to encourage their critical thinking and reasoning skills. As they develop these skills, they'll be better equipped to tackle more complex math concepts in the future.

So, the next time you come across a math problem that seems perplexing, take a moment to appreciate the unique perspectives and strategies that young minds bring to the table. After all, mathematics is not just about finding the right answer, but also about nurturing a love for learning and problem-solving.

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View source: Reddit

Top Comments from Reddit


“Because math”


I just hated this kind of question!! What are you supposed to answer!?


It says the answer to the left. What even is this question wanting?


You should get her a shirt that says: 'I do Math and I know things'


Am I insane?!? 48+24=72 right?


if you have 45 steam games and you add 19 more to your library, you get 64 games and still boredom


what are those lines and dots?


As a retired teacher, this is definitely getting the kids to think about their thought process bc later they will be able to figure out harder problems by using those same processes. In the lessons they get in class, they’re learning how to break down the processes as well.




Just wait till she gets to geometry. You need to justify everything and students get so p***ed off. But that's all proofs are, explaining your reasoning.

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