Missy Barrett's Adventures

The amazing adventures of a fictional child

There’s Information Missing

on August 2, 2017

There’s this math question my brother, Josh, asked me to answer but I couldn’t answer it so I put it on my Facebook page for help to answer and I still couldn’t answer it.  That’s why on my blog today, I’m going to explain how come I cannot answer this math question.  Here’s the question (it’s a picture problem).

The two pictures equal 30 so that means one picture equals 15.  The two pairs of cherries equal 20 so that means one pair of cherries equals 10.  The two whales equal 8 so that means one whale equals 4.  This is because the two pictures are identical, and the two pairs of cherries are identical, and the two whales are identical.

The math question is how much does one picture plus one cherry with a leaf plus one whale equal?  Some people say the answer is 29 and some people say the answer is 24.  I say there’s information missing.

How much does the leaf equal?

Think about it.  If a pair of cherries equals 10 and you split them up, the leaf only goes with one cherry because that’s what the picture shows.  So when you split up the cherries, one has a leaf and the other does not have a leaf.

How much does the leaf equal?

If the leaf equals zero, then 1 cherry equals 5.  That means the answer is 24.  But the picture shows that this is about identical things so when it’s about the identical pair of cherries, for sure each pair of cherries equals 10.  But when you split up the pair of cherries, the cherries aren’t identical anymore because one has a leaf and the other does not so they can’t be equal.

How much does the leaf equal?

If you say the leaf equals 1, that means that a cherry with a leaf equals 6 and a cherry with no leaf equals 4.  But there’s nothing in the picture problem that says how much the leaf equals so you can’t just say the leaf equals 1.  Maybe the leaf equals 2 because then the cherries are identical again.  If that was true, then one picture plus one cherry plus one leaf plus one whale would equal 25 because the equation would be 15 (picture) plus cherry (4) plus leaf (2) plus whale (4).

But the cherry that does not have a leaf looks a little bigger than the cherry that has the leaf so maybe the leaf equals 1 and the cherry that’s smaller equals 4 and the bigger cherry equals 5.  Then the equation would be 15 (picture) plus cherry (4) plus leaf (1) plus whale (4) and that would make the answer 24.

But the bigger cherry looks a lot bigger than the small cherry so maybe it equals 6 and the small cherry equals 4 and the leaf equals 0, or the bigger cherry equals 6 and the small cherry equals 3 and the leaf equals 2 because the leave is almost as big as the small cherry.

So that’s a big part of the problem solving the math problem because there’s missing information about the pair of cherries.  If there’s missing information, I cannot answer that question and neither can anyone else (not even my big brother Aaron and he’s in college) because you can’t guess at part of the equation and for sure get the right answer.  You will probably get a pretty close answer or maybe a right answer but if it’s a right answer, you won’t know for sure until someone tells you how much the leaf equals.

I hate math.

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