This Brainteaser Of "Fruit Algebra" Is A Lot Trickier Than It Looks

One of the most common complaints that a lot of kids have in math class is, "When am I ever going to use this in real life?" While it's maybe not the best attitude to have in school, they do have somewhat of a point. I took calculus in high school and in the 10 years of life I've had since then, I can't tell you the last time I needed to use it. A lot of what we learn in school is general stuff that might help us later on in advanced college classes and/or if we pursue a career in that specific field of study, which is why most of us tend to forget those advanced concepts within a few years of graduation.

Another area of math that frustrates a lot of people is algebra. As an adult, you won't often be in a situation that requires you to solve algebraic equations/expansions. A lot of people might say "that's why I have a calculator app on my smartphone." Let me be clear here: I have a deep, abiding love and respect for mathematics. I'm not saying these things to disparage math, I'm just stating facts. Personally, I think algebra is essential learning for a very good reason - it teaches us how to think about unknown quantities. Being able to determine the value of something using only contextual clues is actually pretty useful on a daily basis.

If you're feeling a bit rusty on your algebra, it's time to brush up. Recently, there's been a brain teaser going around on Facebook that's been driving a lot of people crazy trying to figure it out. Think you've got what it takes to unlock the mysteries of "Fruit Algebra?"

Here's the image that's been shared hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook. It's actual origin is unclear at the moment, but it's been getting passed around like hotcakes.

It seems easy enough, right?


Tell that to all these people, who can't seem to agree on a right answer.

OK, let's try to break this down. The first line has 3 apples that add up to 30, so clearly, apples have a value of 10 each.

In the next line, you add 1 apple to 2 bunches of bananas to get 18. A little simple arithmetic tells us the banana bunches are worth four each.

Next, you have a banana bunch and a coconut is being subtracted to end up with two. Once again, simple arithmetic tells us the coconut must be worth two.

Here's where it gets tricky though. If you add a coconut, an apple and a banana bunch, you should get 16, right? Except you don't! What gives?


Well, if you look closer at that last equation and compare it to the others, you'll notice something. The final equation only shows one coconut half, while the other equation shows two ...

... and there's only 3 bananas in the bunch in the last equation, as opposed to 4 in the previous ones.

It's all about the fine print with this particular puzzle! Now that we know about the bananas and coconuts, we can deduce that the equation is: 1 + 10 + 3 = 14.

While some may argue that this is mathematically dodgy, since each fruit was set up to represent one variable with a fixed value, you could think of each variable now having a fraction attached to it. Admittedly, the subtle change in the pictures is a bit misleading - but that's why it's called a "brain teaser" instead of just a simple math problem!

Via: Buzzfeed | Lisa Woelke

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