# If a ship had 26 sheep and 10 goats on board, how old is the ship's captain?

Asked by zenvelo (32606) February 2nd, 2018

This is an actual question on a Chinese school’s fifth grade test.

The question is meant to foster critical thinking. If your child was faced with a question like this, how might you react?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

“Old enough to stick a fork in the throat of the author of this question.”

No way to tell from the information given.

janbb (53600)

Important information need:

How many of the sheep are female and how many male?

How many goats are female and how many male?

You can’t answer the question without knowing that.

elbanditoroso (24560)

Well if it’s supposed to be critical thinking than you are probably supposed to look outside the question. Like I would assume you have to be a certain age to be a captain right? I would think you would have to be at least 18, and depending on the amount of service you must have before you can actually get to be captain (You can’t just get on a ship and own it right away, you have to go up the ranks) the answer is probably somewhere above 25–27? The average age for a Captain is 27.

so final answer would be he’s probably older than 27.

SergeantQueen (7326)

From his link “the Chinese math question about the age of the captain is genius in that in order to oversee a ship that carries cargo the captain must be a) at least 23 and b) have possessed the respective license for at least five years, making the answer anything above 28”

Dutchess_III (38415)

Close Sgt!

KNOWITALL (19010)

I would be interested in my child’s reaction to the question, and what the teacher had to say about it.

It seems to me the answer is that there is no way to infer the captain’s age with so little information, unless you know it refers to a specific person or context beyond those words, such as @Dutchess_III mentioned.

However it strikes me as a stifling conventional sort of thinking. What if the captain is a 17-year-old pirate whose crew just threw the licensed 28+ year-old and his crew overboard?

Zaku (21715)

I don’t like the question. The information provided cannot provide an answer. A no win situation is a bit much for a child. It seems to be teaching them to give up, when they can’t figure it out.

MrGrimm888 (13499)

From what link @Dutchess_III ?

SergeantQueen (7326)

The link in the OP’s detail.

Dutchess_III (38415)

Yeah just noticed it. Ooops. went right by me lol

SergeantQueen (7326)