High School Cricket Math Question Stumps the Internet

How would you solve the problem?
Chris Young
NSW Board of Education/News.com.au

Many HSC students, the equivalent of high schoolers, in Australia were stumped by several tough questions included in this week's standard mathematics exam, News Australia reports.

One task, in particular, got the internet talking due to the phrasing of the question and the general lack of a consensus on the correct answer, once it had been posted online.


Jiminy cricket

The problem in question related to chirping crickets and temperature readings. Take a look at the exam task that prompted several memes below: 

High School Cricket Math Question Stumps the Internet
Source: NSW Board of Education/News.com.au

The examination paper, which included a box plot of temperature data, asked students to "calculate the number of chirps expected in a 15-second interval when the temperature is 19° Celsius (66.20 °F). Give your answer correct to the nearest whole number."

Migraine-inducing maths

The reaction on social media was unsurprisingly loud.

The memes were inevitable.

A backlash followed, which was partly caused by the fact that the examining board, NESA, placed several of the same difficult questions in the higher and lower levels of the exam.

Following said backlash, a NESA spokeswoman told News Australia it had received feedback regarding the crickets question.

"NESA confirms that all questions asked within the Maths Standard 2 exam were within the scope of the syllabus," the spokeswoman said.

The answer

Oak Ukritnukun, Matrix Education's head of mathematics, who admitted the question was "really challenging," told the Daily Mail that "you need to do quite a few things right to get full marks."

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"Focus should be placed on first identifying the median, then the mean temperature," he continued. "After that calculate the mean number of chirps and the value of B. You then use the value of Y to determine the number of chirps, which as a whole number gives you an answer of 29."

What do you think? Was the question too difficult, or did you get 29 in only a small matter of time?

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