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Most Adults Can't Solve This Third Grade Math Problem. Can You?

It's been a long time since many of us sat on a school bench. As we get older, our brains tend to get a little rusty and we start to forget how to solve the most basic math problems.

Last week, a mom had people on the internet scratching their heads after she asked for help in solving her eight-year-old daughter's math homework.

Dusty Sappington, from Terry, Mississippi, turned to Reddit to share a third grade math problem that left both her and her daughter, Izzy, stumped.


The problem reads: "Janell had 15 marbles. She lost some of them. How many does Janell have now?"

"If someone can answer this correctly, my child will be done with her homework!" wrote Dusty.

It wasn't long before answers started trickling in, but many of them turned out to be wrong.

"<15," wrote one user, and added, "but I don't think that's a fair 3rd grade question."

Some even went out of their way to offer complicated math equations that are definitely too advanced for Izzy's grade level.


Well, it turns out the answer may have been within the question all along, it just takes a little bit of extra thinking.

Dusty revealed that her daughter has dyslexia and attends a private school that specializes in teaching children with learning disabilities, so it's very surprising that the math problem seems to be so difficult to solve. The homework didn't come with additional instructions or multiple choice answers.

While most people on Reddit were busy providing numerical answers to the baffling homework question. A few others took an easier approach.

"The correct answer is, "some," wrote one user. However, their reply was challenged by other comments.

"You guys are going crazy here, the answer is clearly 'The rest'," wrote another.

One user jokingly commented that "Janell lost her marbles."

To this day, the problem remains unsolved. Dusty told HuffPost that she is waiting for the teacher to return the graded homework so she can find out what the correct answer it.

"To be honest, I'm unsure if it was printed in error or was a question to test her knowledge of less than and greater than, which she has touched on in the past," said Dusty.

Daily Mail

She also explained that although she did hope to get an answer from Reddit, she posted it "mainly for amusement."

"Being the mother of a third-grader and a fifth-grader, I have seen a lot of homework over the years that has our family laughing at the absurdities, scratching our heads and relying too much on Google," she explained.

Do you know the answer? Let us know in the comments!

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.