Can you solve this grammatically incorrect, impossible Common Core question?

Robby Soave Reporter
Font Size:

A Carroll County, Maryland grandmother wants to know why her granddaughter’s Common Core-aligned fourth grade curriculum includes the following grammatically incorrect–and mathematically baffling–quiz question:

“Tyler made 36 total snowflakes which is a multiple of how triangular snowflakes he made. How many triangular snowflakes could he have made?”

A significant grammatical error makes the question incomprehensible. But even assuming better phrasing, it’s not obvious to children what the question is asking, according to the grandmother, Gail Householder.

“Who thinks many 9-year-olds will actually understand this and come up with the correct answer?” she asked in a letter to The Baltimore Sun. (RELATED: Epic fail: Parents reveal insane Common Core worksheets)

The question was included on a mid-year review calendar worksheet. Though the other questions don’t include significant grammatical errors, some of them are equally baffling. One asks students to “Name 2 reasonable estimates for: 24,778 – 14,981” and “Explain to a family member why they are both reasonable,” instead of simply solving the problem.

Another question asks students to “Name 3 fractions that are equivalent to” and then shows a picture of four square boxes.

A spokesperson for Carroll County did not respond to a request for comment.

While the controversy over Common Core implementation largely concerns whether the standards are actually rigorous — and whether they erode state and local authority over education matters — skeptics continue to find embarrassing errors printed in Core-aligned textbooks.

Pearson, a company that produces curriculum-aligned educational materials, has specifically drawn criticism for printing mistakes. (RELATED: Common Core textbooks arrive late, filled with errors)

Follow Robby on Twitter