This Math Problem for Five-Year-Olds Has the Internet Stumped


If you love solving riddles as much as we do, you’ll be happy to know there’s another seemingly impossible-to-solve math problem making the rounds on the internet. The difficult equation, which was originally published on a Chinese test for five-year-olds, reads like this: If three red flowers added together equals 60, two blue flowers plus one red flower equals 30, and one blue flower minus two yellow flowers equals three, then what is one yellow flower plus one red flower multiplied by one blue flower? Sounds like a doozy, doesn’t it?

Here’s a visual representation of the equation to help you out.

If you’ve decided to give up, we don’t blame you. Math is pretty hard, especially when it’s drawn out in symbols — or in this case, flowers — instead of numbers. Thankfully, Presh Talwalkar, the blogger behind MindYourDecisions, created a step-by-step video that explains how to get the correct answer, which is 81.

So, how’d he do it? Just take a long hard look at the photo. If three red flowers add up to 60, then that means each red flower is worth 20. The second equation has one red flower plus two blue flowers — notice both of these blue flowers have five petals each. If the end result of the second problem is 30, then this means the petals have a value of one, which makes two blue flowers equal 10. In the third question, there is a blue flower with five petals minus two yellow flowers equal to three. If we say the blue flower has a value of 5, then the two yellow flowers must have a value of one — because five minus two is equal to three.

Now, the final equation is easy. If the yellow flower equals one, and the red flower is equal to 20, and the blue flower’s value is based on the number of petals it has, then the last blue flower has a value of four. This makes the problem: 1 + 20 x 4 = 1 + 80 = 81.

Doesn’t seem so hard now, does it?

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