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Homework Help Sites - Real Help With Percentages Or Just a Turkey?

Updated on May 11, 2013
In some schools, students no longer learn the multiplication tables.
In some schools, students no longer learn the multiplication tables. | Source

Inaccurate Answers From Homework Help and Essay Sites

The use of answers fro some homework help web sites and pre-written essays from assignment cheat sites has become increasingly controversial for two reasons. One reason is that students who use there sites are often not doing their own work for classes, but relying on the quick fix of an online answer or essays that they can buy.

The second reason for controversy is that the answers to short answer questions or mathematics problems found on some Q & A sites and much of the information contained in essays-for-fee is incorrect. Thus neither type of web site is consistently of much help to students and students should, ethically, do their own classwork, book reports, and term paper assignments.

One researcher, Vernon Chatman, noticed the large number of essay writing web sites popping up and decided to test their writers' skills, with hilarious results. He posed highly convoluted and prank questions to these web sites to answer in essays for which he paid. Then he put the disastrous essays in a book and published it.

Mr. Chatman's book is Mindsploitation: Asinine Assignments for the Online Homework Cheating Industry, pubished in April 2013. A read of this book finds a convincing argument for avoiding essay writing cheat sites, as well as some Q & A sites on the Internet.

Creative Mathematics Used Unwittingly

From tie to time, Q & A sites receive a flurry of requests for answers to homework questions. While some of these are interesting and provide good writing prompts for online authors in completion of high quality articles, some questions are nonsensical, poorly stated, or much too simple for a Q & A forum or homework help site.

Some time ago, someone called creid asked writers to solve an algebra problem. The problem was stated in such a way as to cause confusion; and, it elicited a number of different responses,

All of the responses, correct and incorrect were voted by readers with at least one "-1" rating -- What fun! However, at least one response was correct and several different responses provided partially correct information or a fully correct answer, if a writer interpreted a different question posed by the originally stated algebraic problem.

I know that homework can be a headache! In a word problem in elementary school, I could not figure out how long to cook a turkey of a specific weight at 325 degrees F. The cooking rate was 15 minutes per pound and the bird weighed 18 pounds. Simple, right? -- 15 x 18 and then divide that answer by 60 minutes to find the hours.

I answered 270 minutes or 4 hours and 30 minutes and was marked incorrect. It works for me when I bake a turkey today, so I never figured out why the answer was wrong and my teacher could not explain either. I think she was using a preprinted answer book. At last my real turkeys come out fully cooked!

The problem with algebra itself, some find, is that it involves mathematics that includes a greater than usual emphasis on language in the dreaded

WORD PROBLEM.

Some homework help sites around the Internet offer help with fraction and percentage problems, some for free and some at a fee. However, many of the answers turnout to be incorrect turkeys (duds, losers, wrong, no good, no help).

Percentage of 40 Redux

Let me try this again, and you can tell me if it is correct or if it is that wrongly-cooked turkey back in elementary school.

The Original Question was

"What percent of 40 is 1/4?"

[Note that 1/4 is very tiny and 40 is comparatively very large. Therefore, the answer will be a small number, because we must divide something already tiny by something much LARGER.]

Let us make a mathematical sentence with punctuation in these ways:

  • What percentage of the whole number "forty" is the fraction "one-quarter"?
  • What percentage called "x" of 40 is 1/4? [We must divide the second number (a fraction), by the first number.]
  • x% = 1/4 divided by 40
  • x% = 1/4 ÷ 40

Let's simplify the equation by working it through:

  • x% = 1/4 ÷ 40

Note that 40 = 40/1

  • x% = 1/4 ÷ 40/1

Now we have two fractions to divide (1st divided by second).

  • x% = 1/4 x 1/40

(Rule: Change "divide" to "multiply" and flip the second fraction.)

  • x% = 1/160

[Multiply 1 x 1 and place the answer in the numerator (top) and multiply 4 x 40 and place the answer in the denominator (bottom).]

  • x% = 0.00625
  • x = 0.625%

Note: One must move the decimal point 2 places to the right to convert the decimal to a percent (percentage).

THEREFORE:

1/4 is 0.625% of 40.

...and .625% is less than 1, so it is a very tiny number, as we expected.

It's Done!

.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Specialist Kenneth R. Hendrix (public domain, with thanks to the US Navy).
.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Specialist Kenneth R. Hendrix (public domain, with thanks to the US Navy).

Where did you search for answers?

In school, where did you look for answers to difficult homework questions?

See results

For More Fun With Mathematics

Can you do percentages with an abacus?

Can you do percentages with an abacus?
Can you do percentages with an abacus? | Source

Comments and Math Jokes

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    • cluense profile image

      Katie Luense 

      7 years ago from Buffalo, NY

      Awesome Hub - as always! You are an awesome writer! Thank you for the information! Rated this Hub up a notch!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks, Pamela99 - we can always uses an electronic thermometer like Alton Brown's, but their kind of expensive. lol

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Most hubs don't require you to rely on your college math of years ago but cooking a turkey no problem. Good hub.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Yes, and I'll join you :) ...why so many homework questions appearing on HubPages lately? I thought there were homework hotlines and white-board tutoring sites all over, out there.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Can I blow a raspberry Patty? :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Ta Dahhhhh! -- The Old Firm is the most correct with simplifying the word problem in the quickest and most efficient way without having to exlain step-by-step.

      Dear someonewhoknows - Incorrect. Your preferencce would read "What is 1/4 (or 25%) of 40?" NOT 'What percent of 40 is 1/4?' "IS 1/4" is the key the makes '1/4' the noun of the sentence. Therefore, one restates the sentence as "1/4 IS what percent of 40?" and The Old Firm is the "rightest." Bravo! And thanks for the turkey tips, someone!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      One of my fanny nature brain cells cannot accept algebra. It just doesn't click. I am very god at maths. Strange isn't it. Thanks for the lesson.

    • caretakerray profile image

      Ray Van Hoff 

      8 years ago from Michigan U.S.A.

      Patty Inglish, MS:

      ????? huh? Thanx for the math lesson. Kinda wasted on me I'm afraid I figured 1/4 was 25% of 40 :(

      Oh well live and learn I always say. :)

      caretakerray

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      A helpful trick is to translate words in the "word problem" to mathematical notation.

      "per cent" translates to "/ 100"

      "is" translates to "="

      "of" translates to "*"

      "what" is the variable you are solving for, which we will call "x"

      "what percent of 40 is 1/4?" translates to

      x / 100 * 40 = 1/4

      Then you solve for x.

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 

      8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      by the way you were right about the cooking time for an 18lb turkey.It is 270 minutes.Unless you added some extra liquid,then it might take little longer.

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 

      8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      The question is what percentage of 40 is 1/4 of 40

      1/4 of 40 is 10

      10 is then 25% of 40

      So,the answer is 25%

      .25 or 1/4 x 40 = 10

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 

      8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      The question is what percentage of 1/4 of 40 is of 40?

    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 

      8 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      You make hard work of a simple problem Patty.

      I/4 over 40 = 1/160 = 100/160% = 5/8% = .625%

      So now explain to me what's wrong with your turkey maths.

      Cheers,

      TOF

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Hey Patty, thank you for very interesting and educational hub. Godspeed. creativeone50

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