Here’s a rotated version, which makes it easier to read (but not easier to understand):

rotated common core math problem

This first-grade math problem was brought to you by — surprise! — Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Sigh.

Alas, we don’t have to imagine.


Good luck solving this 3rd grade Common Core math problem

Unreal: Check out this ridiculous Common Core math problem [pics]

‘They’re making kids stupid now’: Check out this Common Core math problem

Must-see Common Core math problems of the day [pics]

You have to see these unintelligible Common Core assignments posted by angry parents

More Common Core insanity: Check out these times tables

  • Right Wired ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    That’s easy! The answer is “potato”.


    • alanstorm

      Well, OBVIOUSLY the answer is “potato”, but you didn’t give the velocity.

      • Average__Joseph

        African or European potato?

        • Guest

          Monty Python reference… excellent!

          • WisconsinPatriot

            I need context!! What sketch??

          • alanstorm

            Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

          • jamest1148

            I’m invincible!

          • FGCU_James

            Monty Python and The Holy Grail, during the “Bridge of Death” scene.

        • alanstorm

          The important thing, of course, is whether it’s fully laden or not. In the case of a potato, that would involve bacon bits, sour cream and chives – all of which affect the air resistance.

          • Donald-Now2x/Sarc-w/0calories

            How does a three ounce potato manage to carry a pound of bacon bits, and sour cream and chives all that way?
            Graham Chapman RULES!

          • jamest1148

            It can grasp it by the husk!

          • Sharon Roser

            Minus 2 points – you forgot to add cheese to the potato… 😉

          • Mike Sowell

            Only if you fart after eating the potato.

        • booboo


        • Kristie Mccann

          Are you suggesting potatoes migrate?

        • Danthemason

          Is that 2 wheels or 4 on that bugger?

        • jamest1148

          When you’re king, you have to know these things.

        • alnga


        • achv

          Sweet potato!!!!!

      • Peabojan

        STOP! You people are killlin’ me!

      • The Jersey Devil

        We shall not risk another frontal assault.

    • JeffWRidge

      Show your work.

    • $84598387

      It is potatoE!

      • Stogie Chomper

        There is no E in potato. I know, because I lost a spelling bee in the 4th grade by putting an e on the end.

        • Duke

          So did Dan Quayle.

          • Ron St Clair

            Just so you know there was a teacher standing behind the student who spelled p-o-t-a-t-o with a flash card for the audience. The teacher’s card showed the added “e.” VP Quayle thought the student was correct but the teacher’s flash card caused the confusion. That picture is rarely shown because it tells the wrong story.

          • thohan

            I didn’t know that, but it sounds unsurprising.

          • Duke

            Well you can’t convince the libs that is what happened. But when Obummer says there are 57 states or Biden says ‘that three letter word, jobs’ it’s not a big deal to them.

        • thedougbob

          Despite what people choose to believe.

          It was a long time ago commonly and accepted in schools spelled as potatoe. I for one, remember this very clearly.

          Even if was chosen to drop the e from the end. It does not give people then or now the justification to call Dan Quayle stupid.

          Just because he grew up with different rules to spelling and the area was slower to catch up, because of know it all educators that changed it, doesn’t make the bashing right.

          • steve

            Actually he was just looking at a flashcard and assumed the card, which a teacher had given him, was correct. Incidentally, the word was tomato.

          • kadacozarh

            People also tend to forget-or perhaps ignore the fact that the card Dan Quayle was reading from had it spelled “Potatoe”….I find it hard to believe that anyone would have done anything differently than he did if they had been in his shoes. BTW my mother said when she was a kid it WAS spelled potatoe.

          • Karen

            Thanks for mentioning this. After all the jokes about him, I was stunned to find out it was the school district who had misspelled it on the card they gave him. His only mistake was figuring EDUCATORS running a SPELLING BEE might actually know something.

          • thedougbob

            Excellent point, thanks!

        • Bellyn

          There is an E when making plural as in I baked two potatoes for dinner this evening.

        • $84598387

          Its an old joke maybe before your time involving Dan Quale.

        • Gwenda Adkins

          When I was in grade school, there was an E in POTATOE i have no idea when or where it was decided to spell it without the E. The same is true for TOMATOE. I have a friend who is 20 years older than me and he was taught the spellings of these two words ends in E.

      • Josh

        Nice! A Dan Quayle reference; I almost forgot about that with Joe Biden in office!

        • Duke

          Probably a bunch of young’uns on here that don’t remember or know about that one.

    • Green Eggs And Ted

      The answer is “The White Man’s Fault.”

      • Peabojan

        That is ALWAYS the answer!

        • Karen

          Not always. Sometimes the answer is, YOU’RE A BIGOT! Or YOU’RE A HOMOPHOBE! Or You’re RACIST! See, there are lots of answers!

      • Gary

        Especially if that white man is George W. Bush.

      • Paul Rowden

        Also acceptable, Bush’s fault.

    • TexSizzle

      My wife says the answer is “purple, because aliens like to eat pancakes on the roof”.

      • thohan

        That answer has legs. My kids have told me that one.

    • Texan357

      I believe that’s spelled “potatoe,” sir.

      • Strawberry

        It is spelled “potato.”

    • LinTaylor ✓vitrified

      No, the answer is 42. It’s always 42.

      • AMERICAN Kafir™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Yes, it’s the answer to life, the universe and everything!

        Don’t panic!

        Oh no, not again!

        • DavidKramer

          Did you forget your towel?

          • Donald-Now2x/Sarc-w/0calories

            Zaphod Beeblebrox and I are going out for a couple Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters. Anybody want to join us?

          • Melody Canterberry


      • Chris Lacas

        Ah, a Douglas Adams reference. Just as good if not better than the Monty Python reference. But 42 is just the answer. Do you remember what the ultimate question was?

      • 1776militia

        57 states. Thanks.

      • Marbran

        Always good to see another DA fan. 😉 That was going to be my answer.

    • Realistic_01

      How many surrealist painters does it take to screw in a light bulb? The goldfish.

      • TexSizzle

        Two.. One to milk the giraffe and one to fill the bathtub with brightly colored mechanics’ tools.

    • Ronnie Barnett

      All the comments on this entire thread have to be the best I’ve ever read on the internet. Ever! And I was almost around when Al Gore invented it!

    • mrmike

      I say the answer is potatoe.

    • Steve Howard

      That’s only if you assume the mass of the hypothetical planet is less than the earth….

    • jonhartz

      The potato is alive, he is just resting…

    • Terry

      Darn, I had the wrong answer. I said “rock”

    • larry trickett

      NO…. Potatoe

    • bbroome62

      Nice Quaylism

    • Shannon Piper

      But you’ll be marked wrong if you don’t draw the potato.

  • nickdqwk

    This is going to be the norm!

    • Fairfax51

      That can’t be funny….I didn’t hear an F bomb.
      Two of the best…ever.
      As soon as we get this Common Core down, it will be time to switch to metric.

    • nickdqwk
      • Stephen L. Hall #NonquamTrump

        I’ll see your Abbot & Costello and raise you a Ma & Pa Kettle

        • nickdqwk

          I sure do miss those days only 3 television stations albeit one was always snowy, and one was always jumping because of horizontal hold issues.

  • David Gillies

    After puzzling over this for a minute or two it becomes plain that the answer is supposed to be the third from the left, the one with eight filled circles and two unfilled in the top box and four unfilled in the bottom. It’s intended to indicate that 8 is two less than ten, therefore the residual 2 circles should be combined with the four below to get 6, the correct answer. It’s basically saying 14 – (10 – 2) = (14 – 10) + 2.

    THIS IS PEDAGOGICALLY USELESS FOR THE MAJORITY OF PUPILS. I have a B.Sc. in physics and an M.Sc. in electronic engineering. I know advanced mathematics, not just ninny-pinny arithmetic like this and never in a million years would it occur to me to teach primary-age children using this technique. One might, perhaps, after having gained an intimate familiarity with the properties of integers, do something like this as a mental arithmetic shortcut. But you don’t teach kids this way. It’s the same error that the ‘whole words’ people make: the most cognitively gifted pupils find these tricks on their own, so let’s teach them to the average ones. It’s deeply, deeply stupid.

    • nickdqwk

      Maybe teach them that 14-8=6 and the shortcuts will come naturally!

      • Librarian

        Absolutely! I’d rather still be using my fingers to add and subtract (I stopped that when I was 27 or so, LOL j/k) than this crap! Shortcuts are only useful after you know the “long way.” But this is the looooonnnnggg way…. Just memorize the tables! Craziness.

      • PSUbrat

        That’s what my husband and I have been saying! If they would just teach the BASICS, the “shortcuts” will eventually happen. I have to hold my tongue in front of our second grader when it comes to this crap. The worst part is, if we teach him the way we learned – you know, by MEMORIZING – he’ll get confused because he has to show his work, not just write the answer. Drives me nuts!

        • carmenta

          We have the opposite problem with our 7th grader…he is incredibly gifted in math and science, his school is happy for him to just give the correct answer and I want to know that he understands HOW he got the answer…its frustrating! I also gave up trying to help him with homework shortly after 2nd grade. I couldn’t grasp how they were teaching, no matter how many times I sought help, but then again, I still cant do long division!

        • PokeyBug

          And you just described exactly why I homeschool my 2nd grader. It’s amazing how easy it is to teach this stuff if you do it simply.

      • Lilywhiteazz


    • Dale Glenn

      Teaching to understand the shortcuts instead of the logic seems damaging. Just because you may know the tricks of the trade doesn’t not mean you know the trade.

    • Stephen L. Hall #NonquamTrump

      I have a degree in mathematics, this is simply ignorant. The natural breakdown in an individuals mind of the problem 14-8 may be divided along the lines they prescribe (10 – 8) + 4, but it may be easier for many students to associate the idea with 10 – (8 – 4) which is the way I would naturally approach the problem. Forcing children’s thought patterns in such unnatural ways, as Common Core constantly does, is seriously detrimental to the child’s intellectual development.

      • Calvin

        That’s not a Common Core lesson plan. It’s been around for years. Common Core does not publish lesson plans.

        • davidnohe

          Thank you, Calvin! I teach and I use the Common Core standards. My money says not a ONE of the people on this post has ever read the standards. While I agree this method of teaching subtraction is doltish, it is, indeed NOT Common Core. Common Core doesn’t write text books or prescribe methods…it gives a standard to be met.

    • David Johnson

      My Father taught me some of the methods common core uses (around 1968 or 69). But He waited till I was out of grade school so I understood the basics.

    • Squirrel!

      So how do you think the average teacher is able to teach this? My 2nd grader comes home with math that the teacher admittedly hasn’t explained (probably unable to) and we have to puzzle it out and explain it. I have a particularly smart kid, and my husband & I are no dummies. I am wondering how this works for kids of typical or lower intelligence with parents who are the same.

    • Calvin

      The lower grades are obsessed with 10s. Yes, we have ten fingers but we also have a brain.

    • Chris Lacas

      I got into a discussion with someone over this problem the other day. I agree that the third answer is correct and he explained to me how he got that answer. You add 4 more circles to the bottom box to make the total of 14. Then you shade in 8 circles in the top box (the number being subtracted) and the remaining unshaded circles gives you the answer. I understand that. But I told him that is not what the instructions said to do. The instructions said to MAKE A TEN TO SUBTRACT. And I can understand that as well because it is easier to add and subtract using tens. So to do that you would add 2 to the 8 to make it A TEN. Then of course you would have to do the same to the 14 now making it 16 thereby converting the problem to 16-10=6. THAT is what the instructions seemed to be saying. And this is why Common Core is a stupid way of teaching, because the instructions don’t really seem to match the answer.

    • Tantalus XVI

      Why stop there? The page number isn’t 166 one hundred sixty-six no no no its 2(100) – 34 Twice one hundred minus thirty-four. But wait isn’t that multiplication? Nope I just made that part up like they did with the dots and rectangles!

    • Karon Adams

      I had this particular trick and many other 10 based tricks in basic math taught to me by my grandfather. he was not well educated but he was gifted in mathematics without education. these tricks were just the way his mind worked. they have stuck with me my entire life. While I understand what ‘common core’ is trying to achieve with this method of teaching, and I don’t have a problem with the kids learning them, I think you are right on this one. because, while I never had a problem in primary math, partially because my grandfather taught me these tricks, I did have some trouble with Algebra. failed it multiple times before I finally struggled through. I am a higher IQ person and eventually went on to study and understand nuclear physics and reactor theory. But, I can see and have experienced the block these tricks leve in a student’s mind. When you look at a problem and solve it, in your head, with the short cut, sometimes that shortcut stands in the way of seeing the easier way to accomplish upper level math. I know the Civics and Social Studies portions of Common Core are rubbish. I can now see that, while I like and use as well as understand what they are doing with the early math in this, I can see and have experienced the stumbling blocks these shortcuts can create in later life and education.

    • Karen

      You speak exactly to my point in my own comment: WHY are they doing this to our children?

  • aztectrumpet

    Based on the 14-8, the answer is probably the third one. Not sure about the whole make a ten to subtract thing.

  • BoscoBolt

    Q: Which shows a way to make a ten to subtract?

    A: “barack hussein obama mmm mmm mmm”

  • Stephen L. Hall #NonquamTrump

    A ten to subtract what? Can you really force tens to subtract? That is unfair to tens, forcing them to subtract while the other numbers do not have to subtract. I demand equal rights for tens! Or, a more proper grammatical structure for mathematical questions.

    • Kay Headley

      The others can, they just have to show a photo ID to do it. 😀

    • Iceman00767

      I feel another protected class coming on!!

  • CO2 Producer

    Nascarnac is onto something with the “Chinese assembly instructions” description. The student doesn’t have to “make a ten.” The ten is already there. Whoever devised that problem needs to go back to ESL class.

  • CHHR

    and to think we used to laugh at “who’s on first”

  • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Now, if anyone had any sense (and for heaven’s sake, try to teach some to kids at an early age– maybe it will “take”), the only alternative that even HAS fourteen circles, and has eight filled in and six blank, is “C”. How the hell does “making a ten” have anything to do with it? Any kid with half a brain and the ability to count can work it out, without the verbiage.

    • sweetljk_texas

      But you are talking about 6 and 7 year olds. Easy for an adult to reason it out but difficult for a child that has only just grasped the concept of subtraction.

  • Evin

    You know what is more disturbing?

    All of the unfilled circles, including the circles to choose the right answer, add up to 23!!!!

    Report real news!!!!!!!! 23 is everywhere!!!!

    • stdog

      So true man. If we reverse 23 we get 32, and if we rreverse that…what do we get?
      You got that right, 23. There it is again. There’s def a pattern here, but there’s more.
      Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd president of the United States. From which we get
      Benjamin Harrison United States, now just simply rearrange those first letters…and what do we get. BUSH. Which brings us back to what we’ve been told all along.
      Its BUSH’s fault. Seems perfectly logical to me. God I love common core. Makes things so much more simple and easy to understand.

      • Evin

        In soviet russia, 10s subtract themselves!!!!

      • Rob W

        But the answer is still potato !

  • desicon

    The purpose of the public school is to make sure the students learn the following lessons:

    (1) How to put the rubber in a banana so that you can benefit from the sacrifice made by Sandra Fluke
    (2) US is an imperial nation under Bush. It occupied Iraq for oil to benefit his oil buddies.
    (3) US is a racist nation, sexist, homophobic.
    (4) Millionaires and Billionaires made their money by cheating the poor.
    (5) Mother/Father is cliche and father is an accessory
    (6) Father/Father or Mother/Mother is cool
    (7)Working to be independent is outdated. Government is the answer.

    • Iceman00767

      Don’t forget that Obama is the messiah!

  • stdog

    So I think I figured this out. Common core isn’t about helping students get ahead. Its about ensuring that students remain in line with one another.

    You see, if your student excels this makes all the other students appear inferior and thats bad. So the easiest solution is to make your student stay with the pack, by teaching them useless crap and discouraging excellence.

    Had a guy come into our store, moved his kids from Alabama to California, they went from b students to a students based on curriculum. They then moved to buffalo, and went from a students to c students, and worked hard to achieve good grades in buffalo, then moved back to Alabama and went straight into advanced placement curriculum.

    Common core wants to eliminate the variance, and ensure that a c student in California, doesn’t become a failing student if they move to another part of the country. And the easiest way to accomplish this is to teach nothing.

    • justlittlolme

      Not to mention that the nonsensical ‘instructions’ will eventually frustrate the child until he know longer even wants to learn….thus ensuring a personality that will take orders willingly simply because he has no sense of personal direction at all.

      • Green Eggs And Ted

        So essentially it’s training the next generation of liberals.

  • Obey_Gravity

    Did no one see the fox report this morning on a fifth grade common core MATH problem? I believe it had a graph that showed Abraham Lincoln’s religion listed as “Liberal”.

    That’s puzzling!

    • Stephen L. Hall #NonquamTrump

      I saw that. While liberalism is certainly a religion, I do not see any evidence that it was Lincoln’s.

      • Obey_Gravity

        Not sure it would meet the definition of ‘religion’ to many. (Cult, maybe)

        Never did get the connection to math though

    • Green Eggs And Ted

      And libs say public schools aren’t trying to indoctrinate kids to liberalism. Lincoln was the first Republican President.

      • TexSizzle

        Lincoln was the first modern Republican president. All the presidents after John Adams and before Andrew Jackson called themselves Republican. The term “Democratic-Republican” that is usually assigned to them was created by Democratics to try to hide fact that the first Democratic to be elected, Andrew Jackson, left the original Republican Party because they refused to nominate him.

    • Ice Cold Troll

      Shirley, you can’t be serious!

      • Tammy Lynn Murdock Edging

        I am serious, and dont call me Shirley.

  • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    At best, if one employs the Principle of Charity and assumes they didn’t set out to be absurd and that there is some way this makes sense, it would be the old “reverse-the-operation” method of proving your work. Your answer was eight, so fill in eight circles in a matrix of ten. Now add as many blank circles as you need, disregarding whether you have to completely fill the matrix or not, to get to fourteen. OK, you had ten, add the four left over, equals fourteen. How many circles are blank? Six. There’s your proof. (Also a sneaky way of getting kids to learn the “tens” column concept, if it does– for the oh, I don’t know, really BRIGHT kids in the class?)

  • Green Eggs And Ted

    It’d be okay of one of the choices was 6 shaded in circles.

  • Green Eggs And Ted

    Who came up with this stuff?

    Oh right, the same party who passed Obamacare.

    Hey Dems, could you guys just stop trying to “Fix” things. We can’t handle any more of your “fixes.”

  • Part138

    What do the Common Core English and History problems look like?

    • Green Eggs And Ted

      History has been changed to “Socialism good, capitalism bad.” Also, they’ve changed the textbooks to make it seem like the Republicans fought against the Civil Rights Movement and passed Jim Crow laws, when in reality that was all the Dems.

      • nickdqwk

        Also included are the diversity of historical figures like famous homosexuals et al!

        • H50 ✓RAT

          But they have erased the early black leaders elected to congress after the civil war. Weird.

          • ToyZebra

            Perhaps because America might not be so racist if blacks were being elected back then. In the Common Core history book Lincoln was a democrat, slavery lasted until the 1960s and Ronald Reagan organized the KKK.

          • H50 ✓RAT

            Yea, blacks making their own way as soon as humanly possible after the civil war ruins that whole once a victim, always a victim narrative thingy.

          • Iceman00767

            I wonder if common core includes the readings of the life of Frederick Douglass? Hmmmmmmm……I think not.

          • Ice Cold Troll

            They were Republicans, that’s why!

          • H50 ✓RAT

            Yes that, and they were elected by those southern racist white states. Go figure.

    • 4liberty

      History-If Columbus discovered America in 1492 and Barak Obama was elected president in 2008, how many gun-toting bible-thumping Republicans does it take to suppress voter’s rights?

      • Part138

        Not to mention that Columbus did NOT discover America. (no criticism meant, 4liberty, I know he’s always been considered the “official” one)

        • StateofFranklin

          Columbus discovered America just like I discovered Atlanta.

          You don’t get to go somewhere that is new to you, but not new to it’s residents, and then say you DISCOVERED it.

          • Ice Cold Troll

            He may also mean the possible “discoveries” by Irish and Vikings. But the difference is, it was Columbus who made a difference.

  • Steve__Jacobson

    It’s just to difficult to look at 14 – 8 and know the answer is 6. Common core is so much easier.

  • disappearing moderate

    I think maybe what they are getting at is adding 2 to 8 makes your ten to subtract. You have to add 2 to each side of the equation so you end up with 16 – 10 = 6. That’s just a wild guess, but I don’t get which set of circles offered as answers reflect that approach.

    • Jay Stevens

      “You have to add 2 to each side of the equation so you end up with 16 – 10 = 6.”

      That is not really a first grade concept.

      • Ice Cold Troll

        Why would you even want to do that? Add the same amount to each side and no matter what the answer will still be six!

  • Got_Tea

    The answer (I think) is the third diagram, because 8 + 2 = 10 and 10 – 4 is 6, which is what 14 – 8 is. But why the heck they’re teaching it that way is a mystery.

    • gekkobear

      Yep, if you already know the answer is 6, then you can find the one that has 6 of something (in this case unshaded circles) and know the answer.

      But you can only get the correct answer if you already know the correct answer… which doesn’t seem a useful way to “teach” math.

  • Al’s Annoyed Grandpa

    When will the word “subtraction” be replaced with “redistribution”?

  • Itchieitchiegoomie

    I have just decided to home school.

    • Marvin Nelson

      Great choice! Your child will actually be able to do the three R’s and will be able to think independently.

    • StateofFranklin

      We’ve been homeschooling for 5 years!!

      • StateofFranklin

        The stupidity and lack of ability to reason by the school teachers and administration were our reasons. 1st grade teacher told me “Your daughter is being disruptive by asking to go to the restroom every day about 40 minutes into a 55 minute class.”

        It didn’t matter that this class was immediately after lunch & recess. The thought of the child really needing to use the restroom never entered the teachers head. All she was concerned about wasthe class being interrupted. Ahh…tolerance.

      • StateofFranklin

        The stupidity and lack of ability to reason by the school teachers and administration were our reasons. 1st grade teacher told me “Your daughter is being disruptive by asking to go to the restroom every day about 40 minutes into a 55 minute class.”

        It didn’t matter that this class was immediately after lunch & recess. The thought of the child really needing to use the restroom never entered the teachers head. All she was concerned about wasthe class being interrupted. Ahh…tolerance.

        • Part138

          I remember my 6th grade homeroom teacher wrote this about me: “She takes trips to the nurse and the bathroom when there is something she doesn’t like going on.” Nurse? I think I went maybe once when I had a headache, and bathroom? Her class was FIRST PERIOD, plus I don’t think she could actually read my mind!

      • Not me!

        Where is a good place to find resources, and advice on homeschooling? As my 2nd grader brings more and more of this crap home, and gets more frustrated every day, the idea of homeschooling becomes more attractive.
        She’s a really smart kid, and what they are teaching (and how they teach it), seems to be holding her back. I want learning to be fun for her again.

        • StateofFranklin

          There are plenty of resources out there, just google it. Be sure that you check out your state’s legal ramifications of it as well. There are facebook groups in all areas.

          Look into K12 also. K12 is “public schooling at home” vice “homeschooling”, which is a little more than just a little play on words. K12 is sponsored by a public school somewhere in your state, and therefore considered public schooling at home. They provide you with books and cirriculum and its free…well, tax dollars pay for it in one way or another.

          With that said, K12 also has Common Core built in to it (in the states that use CC), but as you teach, you can teach around it. Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it…every time you run into something that makes no sense whatsoever…that’s CC.

          • Not me!

            Thank you! I’m just starting to look into this, as I am not very happy with the way our local school is teaching.
            I’m a stay at home dad of 3, and run a business from home, so it seems home schooling would be a natural progression, as well.
            Thanks, again!

    • StateofFranklin

      We’ve been homeschooling for 5 years!!

    • PNWShan

      Just make sure you don’t buy the same curricula they’ve been using in the schools.

  • Marvin Nelson

    Okay, folks, here is the explanation. First, the third choice is the only picture that actually shows 14 counters. Notice that there are 8 dark counters and 6 white counters, which represents the fact 8 + 6 = 14. To work the problem, the child would remove the 8 dark counters from the frame, leaving 6, which shows 14 – 8 = 6. However, the problem would make no sense to a first grader, who might pick the correct answer simply by seeing that only one choice actually has 14 counters. Now, drink a big glass of wine (or vodka, straight) and read the problem and explanation again.

    • Stephen L. Hall #NonquamTrump

      Unless you were an education major in college, then the answer was obvious . . . it was the question which was stupid.

      • Part138

        At my college, if you were an education major, you had to major in something else at the same time. I’m guessing this is a way to try and make teachers more qualified, no idea if it works though.

  • LinTaylor ✓vitrified

    Yeah sure, DOE. Kids are becoming less and less interested in education, teachers don’t give a flying flip because they’re union and get paid regardless, and you honestly think the way to encourage better education is by making math even more complex and daunting than it already seems to young students. Brilliant strategy there, Patton.

    But then again, should I expect anything less from the administration that’s given us such gems as Cash for Clunkers, Obamacare, and of course the attitude that being unemployed is freedom?

  • LinTaylor ✓vitrified

    Yeah sure, DOE. Kids are becoming less and less interested in education, teachers don’t give a flying flip because they’re union and get paid regardless, and you honestly think the way to encourage better education is by making math even more complex and daunting than it already seems to young students. Brilliant strategy there, Patton.

    But then again, should I expect anything less from the administration that’s given us such gems as Cash for Clunkers, Obamacare, and of course the attitude that being unemployed is freedom?

  • hrhoward

    An orange because a bicycle has two wheels.


    The answer is damned obvious to me, I’m schizophrenic…..follow me
    Σ α + ß= 2 cow’s and 1 goat

    • Ice Cold Troll

      And I bet you’re 44 years old!
      /Because I have a brother who is 22 and he’s only half-crazy!

  • H50 ✓RAT

    Still purple, the answer to every Common Core math problem is always purple, eazy peazy.

  • NixTyranny

    Is the answer “Mmmm, Mmmm, Mm” ?

  • Realistic_01

    Next time I go get my car registration renewed, I’m going to draw a bunch of boxes and circles on a piece of paper to calculate how much change I should give them from my whole dollars. When they complain about how long it’s taking, I’ll just explain, “but, this is how common core taught me to solve math problems.”

  • sb36695

    I thought you could give any answer that you wanted. There’s no such thing as failure.

    • Ice Cold Troll


  • scrapiron5

    Regardless of what you think of this worksheet problem or the teaching method employed here, can anyone cite a CC standard that mandates this method? I’ve read the CC standards and work with them every day as a teacher and I haven’t seen it. This is not a CC problem.

  • marion vega

    Making the kids as stupid as the union loving teachers. a good future Dem base

  • carolina mama

    The answer is the second diagram from the right.
    Far too complicated for first-graders.

    • Ice Cold Troll

      Not complicated as much a senseless! If this is the concept you’re trying to teach, give everybody 14 pennies and have them start making 2 piles, so as one grows, the other decreases.

      • D. Lenore Hutchens

        Might as well teach the kids the truth. Give half the class a job to EARN 14 pennies. And while the kids are proud of themselves for the benefits are WORK, the teacher, presenting government, goes over to their desk and snatch half their earnings and give it to the half that doesn’t have to work. Can you imagine what the expressions on their little faces would be? The G-rated version of WTH.

  • Amy Dawn Ackerman

    I think its the third one since that’s the only one that shows 14.

    • Ice Cold Troll

      Mmm, I think you’re right. But . . . WHY?

      • Amy Dawn Ackerman

        Fourteen counters are shown, and eight of them are black. They want the kids to count the white ones to find the answer. I agree that it is not well explained. I wouldn’t get it either if I weren’t a teacher who has to deal with problems like this on a daily basis.

        • PNWShan

          Thank you for your background. These diagrams are not intuitive. I homeschooled my kids and I did teach them math tricks for grouping numbers, but a first grader should be taught regular subtraction first, and this does not strike me as a quick trick to make it easier. It seems more like a puzzle to make it confusing.

        • D. Lenore Hutchens

          But isn’t it racist if the kids are told to only count the white ones?

          • Amy Dawn Ackerman

            You just may be right on that point.

      • chris warner

        I counted the six empty boxes.

  • Nov-cubed
    • Peter Toth

      LMAO. Damn those white mice!

  • Donald-Now2x/Sarc-w/0calories

    And to think Venn Circles gave me migraines.

  • irishgirl91

    Just one question for Bill Gates, is this how your children were taught math?

  • William A Manning

    the 3rd one is the answer. 14 circles minus the 8 shaded circles .

    • rickg62

      True, but where do the instructions about a way to make a ten come in?

      • William A Manning

        through logical reasoning.

        the “ten” in question goes by 1-9 is ‘ones’, 10-99 is “ten”, 100-999 is “hundreds” and so on.

        Its another form of word problems.

        I showed this to my second grade daughter, and she counted all the circles to see which one had 14 total circles, then she deduced that the only answer had 14 circles.

        • rickg62

          Duh, we all know the place values. Also obvious is the correct answer being the one with fourteen circles. It’s the wording of the problem that is ridiculous, especially for a first grader. How many of them could actually read it, let alone understand it?

          • William A Manning

            “Duh”. I like that. Government educated, were you? So was I.

            If you read the instructions and then looked at the problem you would notice:
            the upper section is the ‘ten’

            the unfinished bottom section is the ‘ones’

            My kids go to private school and have been bringing these home, so when I help them with their homework, I show them ‘old school’ math.

            With common core being mostly leftist propaganda, I can understand why people jump, but this lesson, to me, is nothing more than an exercise in logic.

          • rickg62

            Yes, I went to public school and was one of their top math students.

            the problem with Common Core math is that the guidelines were written by people who never taught math. The use of the circles is fine, however, whoever wrote these instructions obviously never taught first grade, or probably anything.

          • William A Manning

            you’re probably right.

            Some of the ‘goals’ of common core math is for students ‘not to regurgitate or learn by rote’,

            I see this particular problem the same way I see machine inventories on large steam or gas turbines. 10 slots to a case of blades and 2 cases would give me 20 maximum blades. Now if there were 14 blades in those 2 cases and they consisted of 2 different sizes, a quick glance would tell me how many of each size I would have.

            This is more of a ‘visual queue’ method of teaching logical thinking, because I don’t think there is a ‘definitive’ way to teach logic.

            “Mathematicians are fallible, but math never lies.”

  • Moue La Moue

    Um, Pizza! Because Unicorns fart rainbows!

  • Calvin

    Once again, this is NOT “Common Core”. This is a math lesson (yes published by HM) about subtraction. It was here before Common Core and will be here after Common Core.

    Common Core does NOT supply class lessons.

    Criticize it for the right reasons or you look just as stupid as a liberal repeating a “Sarah Palin can see [fill in the blank] from her house” joke.

    • Amy Dawn Ackerman

      It’s more than likely from a lesson written with Common Core objectives in mind.

      • Calvin

        Nope, it’s been in use for years. I’ve seen them as far back as 2003.

        • PNWShan

          And this was a bad way to teach it back then. Btw, my dean’s list physics major son can’t figure out what this means.

          I know that the lingo changes from time to time, but this is not clear.

    • Not me!

      No? Then what does this mean? It’s on the top of all my second graders “homework”

  • Douglas H Lang

    That’s f***kd up! It’s no longer arithmetic but an exercise in lateral thinking. Wtf is wrong with these people. Isn’t it about time people took back education from the looneys?.

  • johnholliday

    This is a plot to make kids feel equally stupid.

  • FU-Obummer

    Only you can prevent forest fires!!!

    • TexSizzle

      Only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

  • HigherGround/Blk Conservative

    Federal Government “need” to control + Bribe = COMMON CORE

  • John Cougar FEMAcamp

    Common Core Math:
    Sammy is a transgender, bi-friendly, sex positive member of the LGBT
    community. He has four “partners”, each of which has 3 STDs. If Sammy
    is having unprotected buttsechs with only 3 of these partners, then how
    many STDs does Sammy catch?

    Mary has had three abortions, generally one every year and a
    half. If her man gets sent to prison for seven years, how
    many abortions will Mary have in the next decade?

    Tito is an industrious inner city youth who works distributing crack. He
    has a clientele of 10 crack fiends who buy 4 rocks a week. If three of
    these crack fiends recently died of an overdose, how many rocks will
    Tito sell this week?

    • cfb65


    • chris warner

      Hahahahahahahaha. Love it.

  • radicallyalyssa

    I’m 21, just out of school and in college, and have no idea what that even means. I feel bad for the parents.

  • 24601

    This is absurd. If they screw up the rudimentary stuff this badly, I shudder to think of what they’ll do to Riemann sums.

  • CptNerd

    My guess is the one on the far right. But that’s just because I play these kinds of puzzles a lot.

    • CptNerd

      And I also suck at them, just FYI…

    • D. Lenore Hutchens

      Guess?? lol These are puzzles.
      I don’t have a clue myself, so I’m not really making fun of you.

  • Christian


  • Katie Keeton

    Should they be more worried about teaching kids to ADD numbers at that age? What kind of CRAP is this? And NO parent in their right mind would allow this garbage in the schools….wake up parents….it’s YOUR fault for not paying attention!

  • Chris Douglass

    I’m so glad my school hasn’t replaced the text books to align with common core. We are just given the common core standards to teach but it doesn’t tell us to teach it in such a confusing way. I realize they are big on modeling the math so kids can internalize why they are doing things instead of just following procedures, but I can’t even figure out what this problem is trying to achieve.

  • Kenny Hitt

    I was actually able to figure it out. Common Core mathematics are based exclusively around a base-10 system to supposedly make things easier to figure in a time crunch. The problem with the system is that traditional arithmetic is not designed for test-taking…it’s designed as an extension of algebra. Kids of my generation on back picked up algebra with relative ease because it was based around concepts we learned in grade school. With Common Core, algebra must be taught as its own separate mathematical concept and therefore will be more difficult to teach.

  • Mr.Conservative

    7+7=10=____ this is a common core problem.

  • Angi Bryan

    ok.. I studied the picture and I get what they are doing.. but it’s so contrived.. it’s much more simple to do it the old fashioned way. The third option is the right answer. Does that help?

  • Karen S Musselman

    Remember, it doesn’t matter if you get the answer wrong, as long as you can explain HOW you got the wrong answer. :-/

    • D. Lenore Hutchens

      and you feel good about yourself.

      • Karen S Musselman

        Obviously you didn’t catch the dripping sarcasm in my post.

        • D. Lenore Hutchens

          Oh, I didn’t mean you personally. As long as the kids feel good about themselves even when they’re wrong. The video – where did she come from? lol

          • tedlv

            That was a good one!

          • Karen S Musselman

            The video – she’s actually pretty popular on the Libertarian front, and makes some really good points against Common Core.

            As far as the kids feeling good, I don’t agree with that. In the long run, if they’re feeling good about a wrong answer, it’s not teaching them anything. They need to be corrected – not praised – for a wrong answer no matter how they figured it out.

  • abugbabe

    I’m pretty sure that next year’s school supply list will include an abacus. Too bad there aren’t any abacus teachers in the US.

    I saw a 4th grade math problem and was puzzled. Their 15 steps to multiply 2 2-digit numbers seemed a bit excessive and confusing and I really didn’t understand the problem. (It didn’t help that there was a typo on the first line.) Can’t we just make them memorize that 1+1=2 and 2×2=4, borrow and carry as appropriate, etc. Like a lot of liberal things, Common Core is all show, no substance.

  • ShanG

    Houghton-Miflin IS NOT COMMON CORE!! It is ridiculously stupid, but not Common Core. This is the current curriculum for all California schools. Common Core hasn’t been implemented here yet.

  • conserv&preserve

    I guess we are finally doing it, we are turning our children into robots.

  • Woody Wilson

    This is clearly the work of people who sat around in the faculty lounge at some elite university theorizing about HOW to teach children, without ever having taught anyone anything.

  • jarrett1983

    I taught an elementary school after-school program for a semester. The teachers at the school taught math in similar ways to this. The children were very confused by the math and couldn’t figure it out. So I showed them how to do real math, which they understood almost immediately. But their teachers became upset because they “needed” to know this crap. Heaven help that we actually show students how to actually live in society. The only thing this has taught me is to not become upset when a cashier can’t make change, they probably never learned how.

    • D. Lenore Hutchens

      I’m old enough to remember going to McDonald’s(the first that opened in our town). They wrote our order and actually did the math for a total and also to make change on a PAPER order pad.

      • plumberskid

        I bet they even knew how to figure out the tax and add that to the sub-total. I know I did…..

        • TexSizzle

          My first job out of high school was at a grocery store. We had tax look-up tables that I rarely used. I could calculate 5% sales tax mentally with no problem.

  • Peter Toth

    If you ignore the instructions, and just look at the equation and the boxes with the circles, you would be able to figure it out. The problem is the written question is so poorly worded, and so misleading, that no one with a mind that has any level of logical thought can decipher this garbage.

    Try and look at the equation, then look a the boxes, and you will see the third set of boxes visually represent the equation.

    This is absolutely stupid, and who ever wrote this question is a complete imbecile.

    • tedlv

      I noticed the same thing about this, and another example of CC “math”; the problem may not be that difficult, but the stated problem looks it was written by someone with only a partial grasp of the language.

  • Linda Pfeiffer

    I have a greater issue with the problem which boils down to the simplicity and obviousness of the answer. If one counts the indicated ‘circles’ there is only one option that has 14 circles, filled or otherwise, (the others have 10, 13 and 16), which makes only one choice that fits the problem. So this indicates that kids don’t need to know math at all…. just how to count past 10 – which can be a problem in winter when kids have only 10 fingers and no toes showing to help.

  • bartmansan

    “Gentlemen Gentlemen….. We have got to ‘Do Something’ to protect our phony bologna jobs!” ~ William J. Le Petomane

    “Give the Governor a Harrumph!” ~ Hedley Lamar

  • Lilywhiteazz

    I looked at it for a minute and I hate to say it makes sense. That is how I subtract in my head. Now, 14-8 is from rote memorization, but if I had a different number say in the 30’s this method works. It is how you visualize mathematics in your head.

    • justlisa

      I dont visualize math, in my head, like this. ????

  • daveachicagoareajamerican

    The answer is “D”, all of the above. Through a new subset of Common Core, known as “Obamacore”, each of the above choices is correct. Through Obamacore, the answers are manipulated, changed, rigged, and justified through false premise, obfuscation, denial, blame, distraction, and if you still don’t believe the answer, then you are belittled and insulted with name calling. Or it’s Fox News’ fault.

    The answer is “D”, all of the above, because it’s what’s right for America!

  • Riordan Kynes

    Even IQ tests make more sense.

  • motownmutt

    apparently “making a ten” is something they teach. I never heard of it, that I can remember. “Bridging” is another name for it.

    teachmath.openschoolnetwork. dot ca/grade-2/addition-facts/make-10-bridging/

    • William Richardson

      Here is how to make a ten—10

  • Tom Charters

    Every Math Teacher I talk to about Common Core Math says basically the same thing. The children are not learning anything they can use and we need to get back to traditional math before we dumb down another generation. The Common Core program in all respects is a massive failure and destroying the education of our children.

  • Taco Boutit

    It’s the third one. And it bothers me that I know that.

  • Rusty Shackelford

    I’ve take college math, and comp science, and a computer / electronics tech. I have no idea what this gibberish is. OMG, we’re being so hosed by the government.

  • Dorotha

    common core work of the devil, bill gates , jebby bush and obozo …this crap is has to go!!!

  • Don Gwinn

    Seriously? You never learned the simple and useful addition and subtraction strategy to complete a ten first and add from there?
    The third answer from the left is correct. All they did was imagine an 8, then fill in 2 more to complete a 10, then four to complete 14. 8+2=10, 10+4=14, so 8+2+4=14, and since 2+4=6, we see that 8+6=14. This is by no means the only way to solve such a problem, but it’s an ancient method that’s still widely used (and was taught in American schools long before the Common Core standards were conceived) because it’s quick and convenient and takes advantage of easily memorized facts (the differences between 10 and the various positive numbers less than 10 in value) to make a lot more memorization unnecessary.

  • Rollie Aarron Murray
  • DCStark

    Because ice cream has no bones!

  • Friode28

    The shortcut here is to pull up your calculator on your phone/tablet/laptop. What I want to know is, who in any frame of mind would have a book of any kind for a first grader with 166 pages?

  • brianguy

    The answer is the 3rd one, but holy crap what a way to ask what 14-8 is!

  • SPCAndyJ

    Reminds me of the movie line…”Should we or should we not listen to the advice of the GALACTICALLY STUPID!”

  • jb80538

    I’m at a loss for the logic with this type of garbage.

  • Cathy Ozbirn Colcord

    First, without seeing what the lesson was before this question it is hard to know what to do. You cannot take a problem away from the lesson. It is like taking things out of context which of course is done all the time in politics!
    It looks to me that this is probably a simple lesson in tens and ones. The number 14 is one ten and 4 ones. Subtract 8 from the ten and you are left with 2 ones which are added to the 4 ones = 6 ones. 14-8=6 This is just another way to illustrate it. When I taught elementary school we taught several different ways to illustrate it so children understood the concept. This would be similar to using an abacus(anyone remember those?) I think there are a lot more math problems and concepts in the school books we already have and in the common core that would be a better example of ridiculous teaching methods than this one is.

    • covertaffairs

      THAT is a ridiculous way to teach simple subtraction!!!!!!! way too many steps. it makes MORE sense to have them count on their fingers!!!! start with 14, then count down to 8. how many are left?

      id never ever teach my child common core math.

    • theaton

      ” I think there are a lot more math problems and concepts in the school
      books we already have and in the common core that would be a better
      example of ridiculous teaching methods than this one is.”

      Please provide one?

  • Christina Mccauley

    What people need to see is common core is nothing but trash !!! OMG if my girl were still in school , I would have NEVER let them teach my child that garbage , incest , soft porn , is all that is by a bunch bots !!!

  • Iceman00767

    I’d be really interested in seeing what percentage of 1st graders actually got this?

    • William Richardson

      Probably 0

    • ToyZebra

      Sorry, no one can calculate percentage anymore.

  • Rob Taylor

    Its the third from the left… That s t help student visualize groups of ten. Take the larger number and make ten circles n he first box and four in the second box… fill in the number of circles that corresponds to the smaller number… Count the empty circles and that will show you the difference. Common core isn’t about accepting all answers. If the student gives an incorrect answer, find out how they reached that wrong answer so teachers can understand why said student reached that answer so they can correct the student’s process instead of merely telling the students that the answer is incorrect. I used to be opposed to common core until my wife who is a teacher explained it to me.

  • Andrew

    Showing a picture out of context is easy to make fun of. And just because you weren’t taught this way, doesn’t automatically invalidate it. The third box is correct. There are 8 dark circles and 14 circles total. In their minds, the 1st graders would remove the 8 dark circles and count what was left over or 6 white circles. Of course, they would’ve been taught this beforehand, whereas you’re given this picture out of context to illustrate that if it’s not taught the way it was taught to you, then it must be wrong.

    • covertaffairs

      “Which shows a way to make a ten to subtract” WHAT? common core math S.CKS.

      • American-By-Choice

        HEY! Just because english is YOUR first language, doesn’t mean EVERYONE can do it! Where’s your tolerance for people who speak differently than YOU? Huh? HUH?

  • SemperFi1946

    Dumbing down the population so they can be easily led by the political ruling class, media and of course – academia!

  • Othniel
    • American-By-Choice

      THAT is hysterical…

  • Snap N McGarrett

    In the ’60-’70s, we built rocket ships and landed them on the moon using slide rules and pencils. 50 years later, kids coming out of high school can’t make change for an order of burger and fries without a computer doing it for them. Want a total meltdown? Give a cashier another penny so you get a nickle or dime back instead of 4 more pennies [after] the change is calculated.

    • Othniel

      Haha! I do that all the time. The ones that are in their 30s+ can do it fine. The younger folks…well…

      • American-By-Choice

        THAT is the second best reason that I go into a 7-11.

        And, I hate to break this to you, but they’re catching on…

        I was recently in a 7-11 and the tab came to $15.11 (I needed a wholesubset10#1minus2fromsubset10#2 pack, don’t judge me BI+itch) so I handed the store’s keeper of the tray a twosubset10plus a fractional coin representing 10% and one representing 1%.

        He chings the drawer in what can only be described as a high degree of confidence, pops a five on the counter and winks at me, as if he not only understood, but had cracked the code… .

        I smiled, but he could see the disappointment in my eyes… I said “Thank you Ackmed” and he shook his head and said “No! my Neame is AHHCKmed.”

        “Fine… I’ll be back tomorrow, when Amirault is on the till…”

        “Yes. Have a good day”.


  • Johnny J

    This is what we base our scholastic statistics with other countries on…? This make us all brain surgeons compared to other countries…

  • desselle0010

    Just shows you why so many people are doing all they can to send their kids to private school, charter school and home school. Public school education is a joke.

  • Arnold Townsend

    Where did this Common Core crap come from? How much taxpayer money was thrown away on this obscenity? THAT and so many other examples are absolute proof that we have over-educated fools trying to MAKE SURE no American student will graduate with even basic math skills. This is ridiculous to the point of absurd. What boggles my mind is a “Republican” like McCain supports this bull. We need a thorough cleansing of the stables in DC come November 2014.

    I swear this is beyond belief. If parents let their children become victims of this abomination then they deserve the tragedy that will result.

    Common Core is pure bullshit.

  • American-By-Choice

    This is all quite elementary my dear Watson.

    Within the linear set of examples, counting from the left to the right, it’s the 3rd from the left, meaning, the 2nd from the right, if the inverse should offend you.

    This example shows one possible means of expressing the illustrated problem; showing two sets of 10, with 14 units identified using circles, negative indicated as filled, positive as unfilled. Projecting that two are deleted from the first set and four from the second, making a subset of 6 negative circles, indicating the positive remainder to illustrate the answer, in precisely the inverse from that expressed by the problem.

    The confusion comes into play, where the contestant applies reason… to an unreasonable illustration.

    However, once one realizes that the problem has been illustrated by a fool… who’s reasoning is Bassackward and Uownsidedp… one merely inverts sound reasoning to realize that in the vacuous world of the collectivist, the remainder appears as that which was taken away, or subtracted from that poorly represented as the whole.

  • cmerlo1

    Here, let me solve it for you. 14 – 8 = 6.

    • American-By-Choice

      HAS BEEN, CRANK! OLD… Non Conformist! Hey the 1930s called and they want their antiquated, bigoted, closed minded reasoning back.

  • bigbeachbird

    Crazy! Check out Common Core Syndrome…”Da Tech Guy” has a great read on the damage that is now being done to kids…it us nithing short of abusive…

  • desselle0010

    Funny how fifty years ago we have some of the best schools in the world. We graduated more kids at higher levels than any other country. In the last 50 years we have listened to all these SMART people, added more government rules and regulations and have completely ruined what use to be one of the best education systems ever. This is the same thing we are doing with health care.

    • American-By-Choice

      The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in >1966< (1966 will be 50 years old in 2016, which, for the kids, is less than two years away) by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of "a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty".

      Now… Lemme ask ya. Is there a better way to overload the system, than to strip the system of individuals who have any means of supporting themselves?

    • bigbeachbird

      Agreed. Kids used to come out of the 8th grade with better educations than far too many college graduates have today. All due to the drive towards “dumbing us down.” (a must-read book: )

  • Hal von Luebbert

    “Garbage in garbage out…” Start with liberalism, concluded with chaos. This reminds no one of Obamacare (actuarial – strange, isn’t it, that you’ve never heard that word until now?) math?

  • Keninmo

    Okay, so it’s the third one…but nobody thinks like that when doing a math problem. Filled and empty circles? Seriously. A first-grader would have trouble even understanding the way the numbers are represented in this approach. It’s asinine.

    • Carla Cunningham

      First graders do ‘get it’. I have taught it. Of course you don’t get it because you haven’t had the instruction on what it is asking the child to do. Yes, math is a lot different than it was even 10 years ago, but the children really do get it.

      • Keninmo

        Did you even read the post? I “get it”. I’ve had lots of math classes. A first-grader hasn’t. What you are claiming is that this approach works for everybody, all the time, and needs no tailoring to the student. I could go into all kinds of logical and structural flaws with it — for example, why group by 10? 14 is not a base-10 number. If you have 14 things, you don’t segregate out 10 of them and then have 4 left over. And if you take stuff away, you don’t start with the segregated group of 10 — the mind doesn’t work like that.

        But then, when you are an advocate for a cause, you bias your viewpoint to support that cause no matter how flawed it may be. So I’m sure you can make up a reason why base-10 is “sensible and logical”, and why a first-grader will of course “get it” that you base-10 everything no matter what the operative numbers are.

      • plumberskid

        14-8=6. It equaled 6 when I was in school 50+ years ago, and it still equals 6 today. It doesn’t matter how you get there, if you do the calculation correctly, you will get the correct answer. so why make it 10 times more complicated for the kids? No, it’s not math that is different today. It’s the agenda of the folks who dream up this hooey that is different.

        • sandyinindy

          YEA!!! You “get it.”

      • Lou Bator

        Why not just teach math instead?

  • Tantalus XVI

    There fixed it.

  • Carla Cunningham

    The example shown here has been used in first grade before Common Core was adopted. If you sat in on the lesson instruction, it would make sense. Students are able to do ‘subtraction’ by knowing the ‘partners’ of a number, thus a total of 14 has a partner of 8 and …. 6. I think people should be more focused on how the secondary curriculum has political or liberal goals. At the primary level, having common standards at each grade level is the guideline for the text book companies. It helps with our mobile society if a child moves to another district or state and they don’t miss as much. I think using this example with the lead-in picture of little children just inflames people who do not know the difference between curriculum ( standards to be taught) and the text books. Using materials like this at first grade is working and children ‘get it’.

    • Nick25

      You are insane. I was taught subtraction, now I know how to subtract. Non to of the bs.

    • Tantalus XVI

      You still didn’t answer the question. 14,6,8, ? = 10? Where does the graphic part come in? Jesus Christ what planet teaches “tricks (or whatever the hell that is)” as the standard, and the standard becomes straight up WRONG? And you wonder why kids nowadays say “%^#^% school, i’m starting my own business selling x,y,z.” They’re literally creating a generation of humans that cannot communicate with their offspring.

    • sandyinindy

      I’m sorry but I disagree. More children are doing much worse today…in most all states.

  • goldsage

    Great. Now let’s imagine that they give them the answers . . . to everything. The government will ALWAYS provide.

  • The Official Andy ®

    WHY can’t they just teach kids the BASIC math fact by rote? 14-8=6… it has always equaled 6. That is why they call them FACTS. Memorization of simple addition and multiplication facts is the basis for all advanced maths.

    • American-By-Choice

      *Conformist! Anti-revolutionary!

      Hey, John Adams called, He wants his antiquated, agrarian principles back.

      (I just wanted to get in here before someone starts heralding the Big Sky Ghost and his free-handing human rights to all who showed up, as participation trophies).


      • tedlv

        It is such a shame that you have to tell people when you’re being sarcastic, isn’t it?

    • bigbeachbird

      You are so right. At a very young age, kids can memorize a phenomenal volume of information (understanding is not critical at this age), and there is nothing wrong with that! And use this game…my kids learned their multiplication, addition, and subtraction, in less than a month. And, the bonus is, they could figure out division from the multiplication. And you don’t have to use the “voice recording”…just play the games and read “How Stevie Learned His Math”. Easy peasy…lemon squeezy…

    • sandyinindy

      Because, maybe, so parent will give up trying to help them. But, I think you are 100% correct, especially for 1st graders!! Sad part, all kids going into college MUST take what used to be called Remedial Math. It is really sad.

  • BillLawrenceOnline

    The correct answer is: “A single hand claps. A tear falls on a snowy peak.”

    It’s pretty simple if you think about it.

  • Karon Adams

    Most common core stuff is total rubbish but, counting to the tens is a trick my grandfather taught me in the 70’s. in your head, you always break down any number into two constituent numbers, one of which will add to the first number to give you 10. the remainder then is added to 10 and gives you the answer. so, 7+7 is the same as 7+3 (which is your 10) +4 which gives you 14. He also taught me to figure tips using tricks to the 10s. all you have to do is remember that 15% is just 10% and half that amount, again. the key is always to look for tens. It takes a little bit of practice and certainly some explanation, but, once you learn it, daily math is much easier to pull off in your head.

  • William Robert Guerra

    the answer is “purple, because aliens wear hats”…

  • Gary

    Do they mean: 14 (-10=4) – 8 (+10=2)= 14 (4) – 8 (2) = 14 – 8 = (4+2) = 14 – 8 = 6. Looks like making as much sense as driving from LA to go to Dallas through NYC!

  • Drago Rittermark

    The Answer is “C” but

    you have to be an Aspey to figure it out. It was needlessly obfuscated for some unknown reason.

  • fubar4fun

    I do not see the problem….but then again I am a Mensa candidate and scored in the top 5% on my SATs years ago. It is a different way of thinking albeit very flawed in practical usage. First graders need to understand the written numbers they will see, not a series of colored/uncolored dots.

  • Guest

    I don’t get it. Aren’t these kids supposed to be the “digital age?” If so, why are we not teaching them to think in binary or hexadecimal? What is with this fixation on base 10? That’s old school.

  • imchupacabra

    what’s that?! Who pays your salary!? What’s that!

  • Charlene Geren

    Well ThaT Is Just Stupid…Lord Help My Grandbabies…..No Wonder They Hate School!!

  • ImTheNana

    While Common Core is rotten, this as base-10; I wouldn’t advocate it as the entire curriculum, but as a single lesson, it might be beneficial. In ‘old school’ maths, we learned to ‘group 10′ in a big column of numbers, matching factors of 10 together, crossing them out, and writing ’10’ to the side, and then adding the 10’s and any remaining number(s). As I get older, I have to admit I most likely would use that method today as a fast way to tackle a column of numbers, if I didn’t have a calculator handy (and didn’t feel like retaining a running total in my head).

    Simplistic example:


    Cross out 2&8, write 10 to the side. Cross out 5&5, write 10 to the side. Cross out 6&4, write 10 to the side. Add 3 10’s and remaining 9 for a total of 39.

    It’s really handy with very long columns added by hand. Not all of us learn in a similar manner.

    Which is one of the big problems with Common Core, IMO. It, like other failed ‘new math’ systems before it, don’t take different learning styles into consideration, confusing the crud out of those who just cannot get it as taught.

  • RegConserative

    Brought to you by people like Jeb Bush and Bill Gates !

    • sandyinindy

      I really wonder about that. The dumber they can make our kids, the easier our kids will do what they are told to do. When people are smart, they tend to think.

  • bigbeachbird

    Get out of Common Core schools, get this math game (Math-It) for your kids…

  • Deacon Davis

    Uh….Spoons yep definitely spoons.

  • Mark R.R.Smith

    The answer is 42.

    • tedlv

      Yeah, Mark, what’s the question? 😉

      • Lou Bator


  • pebkac

    I just have to say, I have a 3rd grader and a 7th grader, and their math has been this stupid since the oldest one was in the first grade, well before Common Core became an issue (and please don’t take this as a defense of CC, because it is absolutely NOT!)…my husband, who uses and teaches trig on an almost daily basis, has always had a hard time helping them.

    • ImTheNana

      I think having “a hard time helping them” is true for many involved parents after the constant changes to increasingly confusing versions of ‘new math’. I recall, 15+ years ago, teaching my son how to do maths using methods I learned, fending off complaints of ‘that’s not how the teacher taught it’; however, he was getting the answers quickly using the methods I taught him, and was hopeless confused, yet stubborn, about the methods the teacher used (given the age, he believed that the teacher had to be smarter than Mom).

      Then, after I started home educating him (mid-semester), he was relaying how the teacher said geometry wasn’t going to be on The Test. I made him learn the grade-level appropriate geometry anyway, and there were 11 geometry questions on The Test. Turns out my son was the only one who got them all right, and the teacher later admitted she was teaching to the previous years test, as instructed by her administration.

      Teaching to a test? And we wonder about the dumbing down of America?

  • johndaddyo444

    What’s all the fuss? Clearly they are getting these first-graders ready for advanced calculus and computer programming all in one simple math problem. The answer is obviously the picture in the third column from the left. Or is that the right? Maybe they should have taught me left from right in first grade?

    • sandyinindy

      That’s right!!! One doesn’t know which is left and right when in the first grade!!

  • Jer

    Stand back, everyone, I’m an engineer, I took college calculus and am good at this math stuff.

    Nah, I got nothin.

  • bigbeachbird

    Pink Floyd gets it…

  • kadacozarh

    I am no math wiz but I can easily do addition,subtraction,multiplication and division. I work as a substitute teacher and boy was I surprised when I starting subbing in elementary math and saw what they are doing. Most of it make math so difficult. I could look at a problem and know the answer -I knew it from the way I was taught-but if I were to show a child how I did it and they did it that way it would be marked wrong! now I remember when my own children were in school and the idea then was-the answer isn’t important ,the important thing is following the right steps. (I guess the idea was if they did that properly they would get the right answer) NOW- it isn’t just a matter of knowing the answer-you also have to jump through the proper hoops to get to the answer. So much wasted time. My question is this-why change something that worked and worked well for centuries? 1+1=2….I do not care how many steps they feel they have to manufacture to get the answer the answer is going to be the same so why are they messing with all of this crap? I can now see why math scores are falling-I was totally confused no wonder the poor kids are!

  • Lonnie

    I see what they’re doing. It’s something I taught myself as a kid to do math in my head. Basically, you’re making 10 the root of each problem. Take each number to ten and the difference between the two numbers and 10 is the answer. In this case, the difference between 10 and 14 is four and the difference between 10 and 8 is two, you then add the two and the four together to get the answer, which is 6. So, the answer is C, the third one from the left.

    However, in my opinion, this is way too advanced for first grade.

    • sandyinindy

      Hell, I’m an accountant and had to “look at” the problem for a few. I did my equation differently above. I thought the first grade was learning to count, ABCs, color and singing…that’s what we did.

  • Johnco

    No, no, no Michelle. Us communists are just trying to destroy any students that may love math. We need to destroy not only their love for God, capitalism, and liberty (other courses), but we need to keep them stupid about the US Constitution and want to make sure they stay stupid in math and science . That way we can take care of them and totally control them from cradle to grave. Us communist party members will be rich and they will be poor and too stupid to know. Michelle, please go to our meetings and you will find out all these things. You will also find out how we will reduce the U.S. population drastically, smile. This will help us save the Tansy beetles too. Life is so wonderful being a communist. You know, in nature there are millions of different types of animal communists. They are called parasites. I just love parasites, don’t you?

  • Vickie Bennett

    These problems all seem to require ways to “take apart”one of the numbers to deal with tens. They are abstract, oblique, and incomprehensible without knowing the original number facts, anyway. This is designed not to teach kids but to keep parents in the dark. I homeschool my granddaughter and have seen bits of this. I teach it straight and, as a math teacher, can explain the crap later.

  • Karen

    On a more serious note (referencing comments below! 😉 ) I see exactly which picto-gram (or whatever they call them) solves the equation. The question is….WHY? Why do we need to constantly teach different methods? It’s pretty bad when my kids’ second grade teacher is frustrated with this stuff, saying she has to keep re-learning new ways to teach addition and subtraction, can hardly figure it out herself, and just shrugs it off, ignores the book, and teaches the kids the tried and true method. WHY are these people so determined to turn everything on its head?

    • tedlv

      Because they think they are smarter than you are. They are wrong, of course. The traditional, tried and true methods WORK! This cartoon-circles-in-a-box stuff does not teach anything.

  • Dianna Hughey

    The answer as everyone knows is 42. The answer seems meaningless because the beings who instructed it never actually knew what the Question was.

    • tedlv

      Little white mice…
      So long…

  • TGJ999

    Well, plainly the answer is the third “box” from the left. 14 circles with 8 filled in leaving 6 open circles. The question is whether this approach of using a quasi-abstract method to teach math operations is truly effective. The method seems more sterile than the pictographs some of the older crowd (like me) may have been used to in elementary school. Bunnies and dogs may have been more fun to young minds in our day than the drab shades of gray that are more likely intended to foster a featureless mental landscape consonant with political correctness.

  • Kim Shimkus

    well obviously they are brain washing the children with some kind of Hitler Nazi Communist Bull shit teaching and people need to wake up to it and demand this shit to stop being thought to the kids today, I herd they we using strobe lights on kids at elementary schools on Military bases to this is from a reliable source

  • American-By-Choice

    There is no upside to standardizing tests…

    That homogenizes the cultural educational means.

    Meaning that what the advocates of common core are doing, is that they’re stripping the system of the ingenuity common to millions of distinct perspectives. Teaching that there is only one way to do something,

    The advocates will claim that they’re teaching kids to think for themselves. Which is NONSENSE!

    We do not teach elementary students how to reason, because they LACK THE COGNITION TO REASON. We provide them the means to become proficient in elementary skills.

    And they’re not proficient in elementary math, for instance, because every time they are faced with a need to multiply a given set of values, they have to work it out, to reason through the problem, instead of recalling multiplied value from memory.

  • Tamasia L Koon

    My 1st grader brought the same paper home. Its outta control. Parents unfortunately need to let their elementary students fail math. Parents need not try to help.I told my child’s school that I will not push my daughter to pass this B.S. I will teach her proper math at home.If parents help their kids then the grades show its a good system and they will keep it around…we need to get rid of it like yesterday!!

  • klsblum

    This is so wrong to do math, but I believe the answer is the third choice. You look for the answer with 14 circles that has 8 grey circles because you’re taking those away. The 6 white circles represents the answer. Who thinks this is math?

  • jo_ella

    That is stupid, you would have to make it 12-10 (to get a ten to subtract) which means you have to take 2 from 14 and add 2 to 8….so I would guess that the one with the four circles would be the answer….but how the heck would a 1st grade child know what he or she is supposed to do? I am only guessing because I really don’t know what they want you to do. That seems like it just serves to confuse a child…and math for some can be confusing as heck, so why make it worse?! A simple addition or subtraction problem should just be left alone.

    • sandyinindy

      Oh, I was thinking to make a “10” = 8+2+ 4 – 8 = x
      Then you would have a “cancel out” of the eights, so the equation
      2 + 4 = 6 or the third column???

      • Lou Bator

        Only on Wednesdays.

  • sue

    Kindergarten is just as confusing with CC! What was wrong with the way their parents were taught? It is sad when a parent can’t figure out how to help their elementary school child with homework.

  • sue

    Wasn’t CC supposed to make learning easier for those who had previously had problems? Sheesh! Now nobody but the teachers (theoretically) know what to do with this mess!

  • Carolyn Wheeler

    You guys are so funny :)…love your answers.

  • Matthew Eddington

    Yall are stupid its a simple equation the answer is the 3rd one from the left

  • Gina Calogero

    ok , I consider myself to have above average intelligence and I can add, subtract, multiply and divide in my head…but I have to say WTF??????? I do believe the answer is potato, no E…fried, baked, mashed it’s still potato..

  • Paul Jacob

    Common Core, the federal specified form of teaching. We went to the moon and back many times and never had common core. Now that we have it, we won’t be possible to go back.

  • Byplain Ex

    the answer is… potato

    • may12553


  • Nita Spearman

    simple – the one that contains the answer – the 3rd one

    • Lou Bator

      How do you figure?

  • Jacko8

    Actually 14 minus 10 leaves 4
    10 minus 8 leaves 2
    2 plus 4 equals 6 which is the result of 14 – 8 =
    See how easy just do it like a computer with multiple registers.
    OBTW not easy for human brains.

  • FlCracker2

    Obviously whoever is cooking errr, I meant keeping the books in Washington came up with this crap.

  • Debbie

    Help me out here, I’ve been out of the loop on this common core stuff, (I need to play catch up, been working a lot) are these questions supposed to be easier for the kids or harder? Cuz they seem mind-numbingly easy to me, I figured them all out in like .002 seconds 😛

  • shrgngatlas

    All your base are belong to us!

  • sukietawdry

    First you have to know that 14-10=4. Then you have to know that 10-8=2. And then you need to know that 4+2=6. Why not just know that 14-8=6? How does, for example, 8-2=? work under this system? 8-10=, 10-2=8, +8=6? Good grief.

  • Julie Button

    This is not remotely difficult! Only one of the options has 14 circles. Are Americans really that unable to use simple logic? Wow.

    • GoneFishing

      I dunno, Julie. If I subtract 8 from 14 off the top of my head, I still get 6…without all the mumbo-jumbo pictured above. Pretty simple logic.

      I guess your motto is, “Why easy when it can be unnecessarily complicated”.

      • Julie Button

        It IS six. The third one, with 14 circles, 8 of which are filled, 6 of which are empty, is the correct answer. None of the other choices even have 14 circles to start with. That’s why it’s so easy.

        That being said, it’s a terrible question for a standardized test. I used to write question for Measured Progress, a company that made tons of standardized tests. The question here is worded badly. It should read something like “Which shows the best way to use tens boxes to find out the answer to 14-8 = __ ?

        The distractors (other choices) are also bad, because they don’t show things kids who don’t understand the concept would most logically pick. Writing good distractors is a skill, and the person who wrote this question didn’t have it. Distractors are extremely important in determining whether a child has mastered a concept.

        What I really dislike about the question is the fact that it is using a poor model to test a child’s ability to interpret a model. Measured Progressed would never have hired me if I’d submitted this question as one of my samples in my application. I’m appalled that it’s on the actual test.

        Do you always judge people based on a single on-line post?

        • GoneFishing

          You went through a lot of trouble to write a book…um, explanation, of why you think this nonsense is so right for you. I responded to your comment because you seem to think that little skulls full of mush should be learning like adults would in, say, a calculus class in college. And I’m telling you there’s no legitimate reason why it has to be more complicated for the kids when it’s more easily solved as I described.

          • Julie Button

            In the 14 sentence reply you called “a book,” I explained the reasons I believe it is a POOR test question.

            The objective/standard being tested, as I said, is the ability to interpret a simple model. This is a skill children will use throughout their years of instruction in math and other subjects. That the problem can be solved without it is not relevent to the objective/standard. I stated my agreement that this question contains a poor model.the model in this question is bad.

            Incidentally, 6- and 7-year-olds are not “little skulls full of mush.” Actually, their brains are far more highly programmed for learning than those of students in “a calculus class in college.”

            That’s all. Good day.

      • Matt

        And if all you ever do is subtract 8 from 14, the top of your head is fine. Congratulations on being able to do simple math as an adult. Young students will go on to learn more complex calculations, where there are no flash cards to memorize. That’s what these problem-solving strategies are about.

        • GoneFishing

          What makes you think we had flash cards when I was in school? You underestimate the power of memory. Sorry, but math for school children doesn’t have to be complicated to reach the same solution. And you’ve just indicted every previous generation as simple-minded idiots.

  • James

    All your base are belong to us.

  • qqchris55

    Just scribble out 8 and put a 10

  • Ingrid Cherry

    The answer is “Purple: Because otters need hats.”

  • GrowlyBear2

    I’m pretty sure you fill in the circle for box three. I think there are a total of 14 dots that are split into groups of 10. The white dots show those that make up 14, and the filled in dots are those subtracted. This leaves a total of 6 not filled dots. Personally I think the subtracted dots should have started in the second box to make things easier.

    • Lou Bator

      If you’re correct, you’re either brilliant or you’re nuts. I have a college education and I cannot figure out what the heII to do with that “math” problem.

  • Frustrated Teacher

    That’s OK…my middle schoolers can’t add or multiply 2 digit numbers without a calculator. THIS kind of reasoning isn’t going to fix that.

  • SYG

    The answer is the third group to the right. (would have been easier to identify if they were labeled a,b,c,d . . .In that case answer is “c” Don’t tell me none of you computer literate shining stars came up with the right answer while your’s sitting there making smart ass remarks. . . .Jeez, it’s first grade crap.. ha ha ha ha ha

  • Lori Carrig

    Well without the instructions and lesson 4.4 not sure what the blocks are telling me. Thought it may be a logic problem, but that may be over thinking it.

  • Scott Cavanah

    Seriously? The answer is the third one. Who hasn’t taught their children by using 14 pennies (the circles) then take away 8 (color in 8 circles) and that leaves 6 that aren’t colored. There is nothing evil about this.

  • Alizabeth Szilagyi

    The comments in this thread only prove that my generation (and those before me) were taught math one way. There can only be one explanation for 14-8 and that is 6. Take a look at the different frames. Which one had 14 circles? There is your answer, (c). Notice the two ten frames in (c) not only have 14 circles, but 8 of them are subtracted (colored in). Hallelujah that schools are finally teaching more than math memorization. They are actually teaching our kids to have some real number sense. PS this style of teaching existed pre-common core.

    If you still don’t understand why the answer is (c). Watch this awesome video, and then dare tell me you wouldn’t want your kindergartner in this teacher’s class.

  • MrDrT

    While I agree it’s a bit much for elementary school kids, it’s called 10’s complement subtraction. The 3rd answer is correct. The 8 represents “2 more” to get to an even 10 and the “4” extra are shown on the bottom to show the “4 extra” 14 takes you past an even 10. The 4 plus the 2 totals 6 which is the correct answer. Interestingly this is exactly how computers subtract except it 2s complement with 1s and 0s. Frighteningly, it’s exactly how I double check subtraction and addition when I do it mentally.

  • Edward J. Cunningham

    What’s wrong with this problem isn’t that it’s hard…the problem is that is isn’t CLEAR.

  • 1NOLAmama

    The answer is the 3rd one. I don’t like CCSS, but I saw an instructional video of a teacher “making tens” and adding. I understand what they are trying to do, but the way they are going about it is completely ridiculous.

  • Matt

    I think a lot of people who complain about Common Core math are just not that bright.

  • Margaret Manzi

    My kids are past high school now, but when I have grandchildren, I’ll offer to help homeschool them. Were mathematicians involved at all in developing this curriculum? They should be ashamed.

  • MrLogical

    Yet another reason to home school.
    The math is bad enough, but the “social science” and history lessons are filled with Socialist propaganda.

  • MrLogical

    What ever happened to flash cards?

  • Gwenda Adkins

    As taking part A and putting in part C close tab make a square up for part D lifting for to put part B in front by giving the answer… grow flowers

  • Jim Rasmussen

    The third from the right is the correct choice. It’s the only example with 14 circles. That alone gives it away. You have 14 total circles. Shade eight out of the group of 10 for the second number in the problem. The student then simply counts the unshaded circles for the answer. Maybe the fact that I’m a former math teacher gave me a leg up in figuring that out but this kind of method is hardly new to Common Core.

  • Andy Trimble

    It’s the 3rd answer, and I see what they are doing, but it is so poorly worded as to be confusing. What they are hoping is that they will teach children to think differently than their parents. They’re easier to brainwash that way.

    What’s really funny is you have an ad for “” just above the comments section, here:

    “”3rd Grade Common Core
    Math & ELA; Practice & Instruction High
    Quality Content & Fun Games!””

  • Melissa Kellison

    Make a set of 10 out of 14 that will be used later (not in this problem) to solve the equation. I’m 42 and remember these exercises from grade school. It is a visualization technique for addition properties. Subtract 4 from 14 to get ten, but don’t throw that 4 away. Subtract 8 from 10 to get 2, now add the 4 to the two to get the answer which is the third from left, 6 uncolored dots.

  • A. Nonymous

    As a former first grade teacher who is NOT a supporter of Common Core, I’d advise you to know what you are trying to pick apart before posting something like this. In response to the first grade math question children are taught place value by first learning to work with groups of tens and ones. This is commonly called counting tens and ones in a first grade class. Thus the answer to the equation 14 – 8 = ? is shown in the third choice where there is a picture of one ten and 4 ones or 14. Eight of the circles are dark showing the 8 that are being taken away and the remaining light colored circles give the answer which, of course, is 6.

  • beautifuldayifyoubelieve

    huh? who started Common Core, and why?

  • pghjr62

    its easy, 3rd one from left, it has total of 14 circles and the first 8 are filled in leaving 6, problem solved.

  • David Loeffler

    Mentally challenged making up math problems?

  • Mike Peterson

    I donnt even understand the question. I mean 14-8=6 but wtf is make a ten subtract.