# Parents baffled by teen’s maths homework question that ‘makes no sense’

A social media user is asking for help to solve a 14-year-old’s maths homework question, admitting they’re ‘stumped’ – and others are equally baffled.

People have been left baffled over a teenager’s homework question that ‘doesn’t make any sense’.

In search for the answer, a social media user has taken to Reddit to ask for help to work out the solution, admitting it has left them “stumped”. They said: “This is a friend’s daughter’s ninth-grade math homework. I’ve spent way too much time on this and am getting nowhere.

“I would post my work, but at this point, it’s just a bunch of convoluted nonsense. I keep coming back to the same overcomplicated equations for each variable, so if I’m wrong at least it’s uniform.

“I know this is a system of equations, I’m a sophomore towards an electrical engineering degree, but for the life of me, I can’t figure this out.”

The homework sheet, titled ‘Back to school equations’, asks students to calculate the value of a bag, notebook, and pen through the information provided.

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The worksheet shows:

• Bag + notebook x bag = 40
• Two pens + one pen x bag = 48
• Notebook + one pen + two pens = 33
• One pen + notebook x bag = [BLANK]
• Bag = [BLANK]. Notebook = [BLANK]. Pen = [BLANK]

Trying but failing to figure out the problem, one user vented: “This is horribly written because it suggests that we are supposed to treat the two markers together as different from 2 * a single marker.”

Another agreed: “Yeah, that’s pretty tedious.”

Meanwhile, another expressed frustration: “Who is using cutesy pictures for 9th grade algebra? The challenge becomes significantly clearer when formatted as a straightforward system of equations. Dealing with more than two variables is already difficult enough without having to decode pictorial representations. Especially those ambiguous duo of markers! Geez.”

This is a friend’s daughter’s ninth grade math homework, I’m stumped.

An astute user elaborated on their approach to the problem, saying: “Let’s make everything variables for simplicity: x + yx = 40. 2z + zx = 48. y + 3z = 33. So y = 33 – 3z, and replacing y in the first equation we get x + x (33-3z) = 40 -> 34x – 3zx = 40. Solving for z gives us z = (34/3) – 40/(3x). We can then input that into the second equation, and it’s a pain to solve but gives us x = 4. From there, we have that 4 + 4y = 40 -> 4y = 36 -> y = 9. From there, we have that 9 + 3z = 33 -> 3z = 24 -> z = 8. Therefore x = 4, y = 9, and z = 8, and z + y * x = 44.”

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