Mum leaves parents baffled with six-year-old daughter’s ‘trick’ maths homework

A mum left baffled by her six-year-old daughter’s maths homework turned to the internet for help – and the deceptively simple question has left others scratching their heads.

The question about the possible number of starfish in a tank left the parent stumped, as she assumed it was a “trick” and took to social media to get a second opinion.

Sharing a photo of the homework to the Family Lockdown Tips and Ideas Facebook group, some people struggled while others came forward to explain the very easy solution.

The mum wrote: “Assistance needed please. I’m thinking this is a trick question. How do I explain this to a 6 year old. Thanks.”

The question shows pictures of starfish, with four boxes below, one containing the number four, one containing the number 18, and the remaining two left empty.

It reads: “In three tanks, the least amount of starfish is 4. The most amount of starfish is 18. How many could there be in the middle tank? Show two possible answers.”

The layout of the question seemed to trip some people up, as one replied to say: “Thanks for that brain pain, I’m baffled.”

A second wrote: “Crikey why can’t maths be simple?! +-x and divide.”

But others explained the boxes weren’t a trick or a representation of the tanks, and the question was simply testing the Year One student’s understanding of ‘least’ and ‘most’ – and the possible answers could simply be any two numbers between four and 18.

One commented to say: “It’s just any amount greater than four or less than 18 surely?”

And some provided helpful advice as to the best way to explain the concept to young children, suggesting: “Get pasta out and have a least and most pot – most six year olds need to see it. Good luck.”

Another said: “Get a ruler – show 4 and 18 and pick two numbers in between.

Relieved to hear she wasn’t being tricked, the mum replied to all the advice to say: “Thanks everyone for your comments it has helped. Much appreciated.”