This problem was given to 1st and 2nd graders and many tried to answer the problem by using the numbers in the question and picking a mathematical operation. If math is too focused on memorization then students are not seeing the power of mathematics. The following points should be emphasized with students when learning math.
· Everyone can do math!
· Emphasize reasoning over memorization
· Encourage multiple strategies and ways of thinking
· Math is not about how quick problems can be done but shortcuts with understanding are great!
· Encourage discussion and exploration
· Math should foster curiosity
· Math should be relevant and realistic
The following video has a similar problem done with 8th graders
The following video has more details on the, how old is the captain problem.
Christian, author, and professor of mathematics education.