Kids out of the box

Unexpected test answers.  I particularly like the one about the coin and the dice.


DL Sly said...

The teacher's comments are just as good as some of the answers.
I'm going to show 13 to the VES so she can pull that on her Alg.II teacher.
4 is pure genius, and 2 is something the VES would have done in 3rd grade. I had a friend in school who did something similar to 19, only it was all *turkey* language. And 28 reminds me of a tshirt I just picked up for the VES that says,
'You say Nerd.
I say Intellectual Rock Star!'

Grim said...

I like the teacher who gave a check mark on #8.

E Hines said...

Well, #2 did say to do exactly that, complete with example answer at the upper right. And so did #3 give explicit instructions--I suggest this student is the only one to have gotten the question right.

On #39, I'd have been glad to think of something similar; my German isn't any good anymore, so I'd have had no idea what the question was.

And #9 is a kid who knows his place.

The teacher on #21 seems to have a potty mouth mind....

Eric Hines

AndrewC said...

Have seen most of those before, but I found the Chinese immigrant one awesome. If anyone wants a translation, it's pretty amusing.

I'm afraid I don't get the genius behind the coins and dice answer though. What am I missing?

Texan99 said...

I'd love to read the translation.

The coin/die trick is that the problem is stated: "A coin is flipped and THEN a die is rolled," but the question is, how likely is it that an odd is rolled THEN the coin comes up tails? If it had asked for the probability that the coin comes up tails, THEN the die roll comes out odd, the answer would have been 25%, but the kid noticed that the order of events was backwards. There's no chance that the odd roll would precede the coin flip, with this description of events. It's like the old riddle about "As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives."

E Hines said...

An equally correct reading, though, understands that the setup--coin flipped, then die rolled--is irrelevant to the question, which as a matter of arithmetic stands alone: what is the probability rolling an odd and then tossing a tail. There are riddles that begin with similarly irrelevant setups.

An equally astute answer would have tossed the whole question, since given the frequency of grammatical error in it, it was utterly incomprehensible.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

One of the classes I took long ago as an undergraduate was called "Math for the Liberal Arts." It chiefly focused on probability theory, using gambling games as its material. (No joke.)

There's a kind of ambiguity in probability theory that has to do with what is called the Monte Carlo Fallacy. The WP article suggests that it's necessary to have a 'period' with 'frequency' of an event on record, but in fact it works at the atomic level: the point is that individual events carry their own probability, and that probability is not determined by earlier events.

So in way, the right probability is 1 in 4. But in another way, it's 1 in 2: the coin toss has a 1 in 2 chance of coming up heads, and if it does, the die has a 1 in 2 chance of landing appropriately. These events can't be conditioned on each other: they're each independent entities.

And yet, usually but not always, things play out as if the probability was 1 in 4. It's a kind of strange soft spot in our ability to use math to predict the world.

AndrewC said...

I see the problem now - old (work, *cough*) browser didn't parse the page right and didn't show the entire image. All I could see was "coin flipped and dice rolled" and "0% because"

Translation (a little extrapolation where vocab is rusty or characters are fuzzy)
- My life here is poor
- Working conditions are not good, and the pay is small
- Don't worry, each day only about 10 people get badly hurt, and I'm very careful
- We've opened a small shop, business is not (?)bad
- Even though my English is not very good, I can sort of understand what the white people are saying
- Hoping to prosper! I will be working hard, and taking good care of myself.
- You all are still doing well?
- Missing you all a lot, hoping we can see again.