This third-grade math homework question has people stumped

Homework is sometimes the bane of parents’ existence ... especially when even they can’t figure it out.

A problem from one third-grader’s math homework stumped Reddit users this week. On Tuesday, a mom named Dusty Sappington posted a photo showing a section of her 8-year-old daughter Izzy’s homework. 

This 3rd grade math problem... from funny

Sappington circled one particular problem, which states, “Janell had 15 marbles. She lost some of them. How many does Janell have now?”

Izzy’s answer: a question mark.

Sappington told HuffPost that her daughter has dyslexia and attends a private school that offers traditional classes and also specializes in learning disabilities. 

After posting the photo on Reddit, she commented, “If someone can answer this correctly, my child will be done with her homework!!” She added that the homework came with no additional instructions or multiple choice. 

Her fellow Redditers couldn’t come up with a number answer, but they offered a few alternative suggestions. 


“I haven’t found out the answer, but hope to see her graded paper soon,” Sappington told HuffPost. “To be honest, I’m unsure if it was printed in error or was a question to test her knowledge of less than and greater than, which she has touched on in the past.”

The mom said she posted the question on Reddit “mainly for amusement.”

“Being the mother of a third-grader and a fifth-grader, I have seen a lot of homework over the years that has our family laughing at the absurdities, scratching our heads and relying too much on Google,” she explained.

She hopes moments like these remind people of the importance of education and the need to pay teachers better. 

Said Sappington, “I hope this adds more fuel to the fire to better fund our educational systems.” 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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