The latest brain-mangling maths puzzle to hit the news is from Vietnam.
It’s posted above. You need to fill in the gaps with the digits from 1 to 9 so that the equation makes sense, following the order of operations – multiply first, then division, addition and subtraction last.
According to the VN Express, it was set as a problem for third graders in the town of Bao Loc in the Vietnamese highlands.
That’s eight year olds!
There is no complicated maths involved, only basic arithmetic. But it’s not a walk in the park.
“This problem is difficult even for adults good at math, so it will be difficult for students in grades 3, and even more challenging for students in the highlands,” teacher Tran Phuong told VN Express. (Via Google Translate).
He added: “I sent the problem for some people, including a doctorate in economics with mathematics, but they have not given the answer.”
Vietnam does very well in the international PISA tables that compare 15-year-olds’ performance in maths, science and reading. Vietnam ranks 17 in maths and 8 in science, which outperforms many Western countries like the UK (26 and 20) and US (36 and 28).
No wonder if they are given problems like this….
Can you do it?
For those who are stumped by the symbols, the colon “:” is the division sign. Now return to your workings…