Internet baffled after maths lecturer shares 7yo daughter's homework even he can't solve

The problem meant for a child sparked debate among academics on Twitter.
The problem meant for a child sparked debate among academics on Twitter. Photo credit: Getty.

Throughout the pandemic, we've seen several instances of parents struggling with their children's homework during homeschooling. 

Now one father has turned to Twitter for help after being unable to solve his seven-year-old daughter's maths homework - despite being a maths professor himself. 

"This was my daughter's (7) maths homework on Monday," Kit Yates wrote, with an accompanying picture of the problem. 

"Can someone help me out with the answer?"

After people expressed doubt that a university mathematics lecturer would need help with a Year Two problem, Yates had to clarify he wasn't "being facetious". 

"I'm genuinely not sure what I should advise her the correct answer should be."

The maths problem shows a semi-circle, accompanied by the problem: "True or false? This shape has two right angles."

Yates' tweet has racked up over 2000 likes and 300 shares, with grown adults hashing it out in the replies. 

"There should be credit for an interesting and engaged answer, whether it's true or false. It's true because there is an infinitesimal right angle at the point where the diameter of a circle touches the circle - by definition of radius," one person wrote. 

"Guess it ultimately depends on metrology used to measure the angle with the actual size reference of the half-circle itself," another countered. "Accuracy of measurement and acceptable error are determined by practical application."

"Tangent to curve at the corner is vertical, so two right angles, no?" another wrote, to which someone replied: "I'm going for yes, on the basis that in as much as a single angle exists for a curved line it should be 90 degrees at those two points.

"Not convinced that that's the 7yo answer though!" they added. 

The question was so challenging Yates told The Mirror he was planning on setting the question for his university students to "see what they come up with."

"I am in a fortunate position that meant I felt I could be used this as an opportunity to talk to my daughter about how the answer could be either true or false depending on your understanding of 'angle'," he told the newspaper, adding it's "actually a really deep and thought-provoking question".