I’m warning you: this clip from “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” will corrode your brain cells and diminish your IQ. In it, contestant Jennifer selects the category “Second Grade Measurements” and is given this problem to solve:
If Jacob stands on Spencer’s shoulders, they are two and a half yards high. How many feet is that?
Now, I’m pretty bad with math. I had to close one eye and furrow my brow, but within about five seconds of reading that problem I settled on “seven and a half feet.” However, as I watched Jennifer attempt to figure out this problem, I started second-guessing myself.
Her initial hunch is “a football field,” which shook up my established notion of how tall two boys should be. Then, as she struggles to remember conversion rates (she thinks there are 352 feet in a yard), I started thinking, “Wait, ARE there only three feet in a yard? Or is it six?” Then she talks about the college chemistry class she took at TCC in Texas (Tarrant County College), and I went through my math again, thinking that maybe I needed Avogadro’s number somewhere in the equation (HOW MANY MOLES ARE IN JACOB AND SPENCER?). Finally, Jennifer takes a peek at her fifth-grade counterpart, a girl who has determined that the answer is 78 feet. Now, 78 feet is a preposterously stupid answer, even for a child in the American school system. Just absolutely moronic. But it’s still closer to the actual answer than Jennifer could possibly get, so she says “78 feet” and does NOT get the $2000 she could have gotten for not being an imbecile.