Math Question For Six Year-Olds Is Leaving Adults Scratching Their Heads – So Can YOU Solve It?

by Greg Campbell | May 10, 2016 5:44 pm

I have never been great at math. Upon passing the required college courses, I said goodbye to algebra forever. Still, math is an important subject. However, a math question is making the rounds on the internet that is stumping adults and worse yet, this math question is aimed at children as young as six years-old![1]

Smart pupil[2]

From the Daily Mail:

A math question aimed at year 2 pupils which involves figuring out how many passengers were originally on a train is the latest brain teaser to leave the internet confused.

The question reads: ‘There were some people on a train. 19 people get off the train at the first stop. 17 people get on the train. Now there are 63 people on the train. How many people were on the train to begin with?’

Mother Louise Bloxham shared the test on Twitter [3]as she couldn’t believe the tough teaser was aimed at children as young as six, and her followers were certainly left confused as they battled to figure out the correct answer.

Robyn Duckworth explained her theory that you solve the puzzle by subtracting 19 from 65 and adding 17 to get 63.

However Neil Hughes insisted the answer was definitely 65 as did Lewis Haddow who worked it out using algebra: X – 19 + 17 = 63. X = 65.’

He added: That’s quite hard for Year 2.’

But Louise confused things even further by explaining someone had posted the answer on a Facebook forum for teachers saying it was definitely 46.

‘You ignore the 19 – they are a red herring presumably. So 63 – 17 = 46.’

The correct answer is in fact 65, which you arrive at by subtracting the 17 people who just boarded from the current number of passengers, 63, to get 46. Then you add the 19 passengers who got off to arrive at 65.

I don’t pretend to be a math whiz, but I’ll admit that this seems quite difficult for a math question that is being asked of children as young as six years-old.

Then again, in a world where Common Core insists that 2+2 can equal 35 if you’re creative enough in your answer, I suppose mathematical logic just isn’t as prioritized as it once was.


  1. this math question is aimed at children as young as six years-old!:
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