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## The REAL Answer To The Viral Chinese Math Problem "How Old Is The Captain?" - VideoRolls.com

## By: MindYourDecisions**Published: **8 months ago

24, 063 Likes 13, 685 Dislikes

Media outlets around the world went crazy over a 5th grade math exam question in China. But they all missed the real story! The problem actually dates back to French researchers in 1979. In this video I present the real story to the viral "Chinese" captain's age question.

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Update thanks to comment from Markus Schüt: the origin dates back to 1841 in a letter Flaubert wrote! See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_the_captain

My blog post for this video:

https://wp.me/p6aMk-5rE

Captain's age question

"If a ship had 26 sheep and 10 goats onboard, how old is the ship's captain?"

South China Morning Post

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2130892/26-sheep-10-goats-lot-flak-over-chinese-primary-school-maths-exam

The Portal (Chinese)

http://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_1971117

RT

https://www.rt.com/news/417231-china-math-problem-sheep-goats/

BBC

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-42857864

Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/31/this-chinese-math-problem-has-no-answer-actually-it-has-a-lot-of-them/

Newsweek

http://www.newsweek.com/can-you-solve-it-bizarre-math-exam-question-leaves-students-scratching-their-796005

Official response (Chinese).

http://news.sina.com.cn/s/wh/2018-01-27/doc-ifyqzcxh0729685.shtml

Sherlock Holmes' deduction in The Hound of the Baskervilles

https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-of-the-best-deductions-by-Sherlock-Holmes

Novotná, Jarmila, and Bernard Sarrazy. "Model of a professor’s didactical action in mathematics education: professor’s variability and students’ algorithmic flexibility in solving arithmetical problems." The Fourth Congress of the European Society in Mathematics Education. 2005.

http://www.erme.tu-dortmund.de/~erme/CERME4/CERME4_WG6.pdf#page=68

de Corte, Eric, Brian Greer, and Lieven Verschaffel, eds. Making Sense of Word Problems. CRC Press, 2000. Pages 3-5.

https://books.google.com/books?id=OOyHRpWsI7sC&lpg=PR7&ots=oRk2XlgRGu&dq=%2226%20sheep%22%20%2210%20goats%22%20boat&lr&pg=PA4#v=onepage&q=%2226%20sheep%22%20%2210%20goats%22%20boat&f=false

Reusser, Kurt. "Problem solving beyond the logic of things: Contextual effects on understanding and solving word problems." Instructional Science. 17.4 (1988): 309-338.

https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED270327.pdf

Benjamin Dickman Twitter and tweet

https://twitter.com/benjamindickman/status/960304080462798851

Benjamin Dickman answer on Math Educators Stack Exchange

https://matheducators.stackexchange.com/questions/11543/does-the-how-old-is-the-shepherd-phenomenon-occur-for-more-relatable-word-prob/11546#11546

Gene Wirchenko blog

http://genew.ca/solving-the-right-problem-right/

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