4th Grader Points Out "Offensive" Math Problem About Fictional Girls' Weights

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4th Grader Points Out "Offensive" Math Problem About Fictional Girls' Weights


Nine-year-old Rhythm Pacheco, a 4th grader from Salt Lake County, spoke up about a math problem with regard to the weight of the fictional girls mentioned in her assignment, says Elle Thomas of Utah-based television channel Fox 13. The student says that the assignment dealt with the body image of young girls. 

Standing in front of Grant Elementary School, Rhythm’s mother, Naomi Pacheco, says, “I was shocked… I was shocked, honestly.” For her, it’s an irresponsible way for kids to learn how to solve a math problem. The Murray City School District Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning Melisa Hamilton explains, “The problems right before that talked about watermelons, and then the problem before that, a Saint Bernard.” 


Photo Credit: Fox 13


But Naomi counters that it was about comparing the weights of the girls. She read the problem aloud, “The table to the right shows the weight of three Grade 4 students. How much heavier is Isabell than the lightest student?” Naomi’s nine-year-old daughter did not like the question because “girls shouldn’t be comparing each other.” She knew it was a math problem, but she decided not to answer it nevertheless. 

Encircling the question, Rhythm wrote, “What! This is offensive! Sorry I won’t write this it’s rude!" Rhythm admits that she was concerned she would get in trouble, as the activity was graded. Hence, she wrote a letter to her teacher in addition to the short message she placed next to the question.  Fortunately, her teacher was responsive and supported the girl’s decision. 


Photo Credit: Fox 13


However, Hamilton argues that the homework was not about body image, but about “moving kilograms to pounds.” Eureka Math, the school’s math curriculum provider, states they have never received a complaint “about one of their questions.” 

Eureka Math’s Director of Marketing Communications Chad Colby informed Fox 13 in a phone call that the parent is “putting value judgment on the question. There is no value judgment in the question about weight, it’s merely a comparison."



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