dog math problem

Math can be hard. It should be logical and straightforward, but sometimes questions are written so oddly that it attracts a lot of debate.

Angie Werner encountered one of these problems when she was helping her second-grade daughter with homework. You wouldn’t expect to have difficulty doing an 8-year-old’s homework, but Angie couldn’t figure out this problem. She posted the problem on one of the mom Facebook groups she belongs to for help.

“There are 49 dogs signed up to compete in the dog show. There are 36 more small dogs than large dogs signed up to compete. How many small dogs are signed up to compete?”

math problem

At first glance, it seems rather simple. I immediately thought it was 36, but that’s not right.

One mom wrote, “Wouldn’t [it] be 49 dogs – 36 small dogs? That make 13 large dogs. So 13 large dogs + 36 small dogs = 49 dogs together. So the answer is 36. It’s a trick question lol, right?”


“Y’all. A mom above figured it out. We were all wrong. If there is a total of 49 dogs and 36 of them are small dogs then there are 13 large dogs,” wrote another mom. “That means 36 small dogs subtracted by 13 large dogs then there are 23 more small dogs than large dogs. 36-13=23. BOOM!!! WOW! Anyone saying there’s half and medium dogs tho just no!”


One mom came up with an answer that makes sense mathematically, but not rationally, because it has one dog cut in half. “49-36=13. 13/2=6.5. 36+6.5=42.5. That’s how I did it in my head. Is that the right way to do it? Lol I haven’t done math like this since I was in school!”

That’s actually the correct answer to this poorly written question. The teacher told Angie, “The district worded it wrong. The answer would be 42.5, though, if done at an age-appropriate grade.” The new style of math has us cutting dogs in half.

Share this story if you think this is a silly problem for a second grader!

Source: Pop Sugar

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