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Offbeat A math problem meant for 8-year-olds is going viral after stumping parents — see if you can solve it

10:05  15 may  2018
10:05  15 may  2018 Source:   msn.com

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A math problem meant for 8 - year - olds is going viral after stumping parents — see if you can solve it . Check to make sure the result can be evenly divided by all of the numbers. Our numbers are six, eight, and 10. Listing their prime factors looks like this

Another seemingly simple math problem is going viral and stumping the Internet. Can you solve this maths question which has left pupils and parents scratching their heads?http But before we give it away, see if you can solve it .

a young boy sitting on a table: taking a test © Provided by Business Insider Inc taking a test

When parents try to help their kids with math homework, it's usually been a while since they've sat down and tried to work out a math problem themselves.

Mumsnet user lucysmam found herself in this scenario and turned to the internet for help, posting a photo of her daughter's math assignment on the parents' online forum.

"Someone explain... please?" she asked, saying she was "baffled" by it.

a screenshot of a social media post: lighthouse viral math © Provided by Business Insider Inc lighthouse viral math

The problem reads as follows:

"On the coast there are three lighthouses.

The first light shines for 3 seconds, then is off for 3 seconds.

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Another seemingly simple math problem is going viral and stumping the Internet. Can you solve this maths question which has left pupils and parents scratching their heads?http But before we give it away, see if you can solve it .

A math problem meant for 8 - year - olds is going viral after stumping parents — see if you can solve it . Talia Lakritz. May 14, 2018, 11:41 AM.

The second light shines for 4 seconds, then is off for 4 seconds.

The third light shines for 5 seconds, then is off for 5 seconds.

All three lights have just come on together.

1) When is the first time all three lights will be off at the same time?

2) When is the next time all three lights will come on together at the same moment?"

Other users called the question "ridiculous" for a KS2 student (grades three through six in the UK). 

Thankfully, YouTube math whiz Presh Talwalkar offered an explanation on his channel, MindYourDecisions.

According to Talwalkar, the easiest way to answer the first question about when the lights will all be off is to map out the intervals for each lighthouse and see where their "off" sections overlap. The answer: after five seconds, the third light has just turned off and the first and second lights are still off.

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A math problem meant for 8 - year - olds is going viral after stumping parents — see if you can solve it . Talia Lakritz. May. According to Over Sixty, the latest assignment to go viral comes from the parenting message board Mumsnet.

A math problem meant for 8 - year - olds is going viral after stumping parents — see if you can solve it . Talia Lakritz. May 14, 2018, 11:41 AM.

To determine when all of the lights will come on together, you need to find the least common multiple of the intervals when the lights will be on.

The first lighthouse turns on every six seconds — it turns on again at six seconds, then 12 seconds, then 18, etc. The second lighthouse turns on every eight seconds — at eight, 16, 24, etc. The third lighthouse turns on every 10 seconds — at 10, 20, 20, etc. So they'll all turn on at the same time at the least common multiple of six, eight, and 10.

Determining the least common multiple requires a few steps, according to Math.com:

  1. List the prime factors of each number.
  2. Multiply each factor by the greatest number of times it occurs in any of the numbers.
  3. Check to make sure the result can be evenly divided by all of the numbers.

Our numbers are six, eight, and 10. Listing their prime factors looks like this:

6 = 2 x 3

8 = 2 x 2 x 2

10 = 2 x 5

Then, multiply each factor by the greatest number of times it occurs. Three and five each appear once, and two appears three times in the number eight: 2 x 2 x 2 x 3 x 5 = 120.

The least common multiple is 120, which is evenly divisible by all of the numbers. The answer is that the lighthouses will all come on together at 120 seconds, or two minutes.

If you managed to solve it on your own, congratulations. If not, don't worry — you're far from the only one who got stuck.

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