Analyse this…clever calculating or just another clever script.

View this classic ‘Ma and Pa Kettle’ video.

Ask yourself…does this make sense or is it mathematical nonsense?
Can you explain how Ma and Pa Kettle used what appears to be correct calculating to arrive at an incorrect answer ?
You have a whole week to do so.
A reward will await you!

29 thoughts on “Analyse this…clever calculating or just another clever script.

  1. Daniel,
    thankyou for replying. You have provided a valid explanation however…
    I’d like to approve your comment but you need to do some editing.
    Mrs Kane.

  2. Congratulations Matthew,
    So far…you are the only student that has provided a sufficiently detailed explanation in regard to the problem.
    You are a star!!! See me for your reward.
    Well Done.
    Mrs Kane.

  3. Ma and Pa Kettle were wrong because in the video there were thinking that the 10 was a 1 when the 1 was a 10. So the person who proves that 5 into 25 goes 5 times is the correct answer.

  4. Hi Mrs Kane.

    I analysed the script with my mum and ma and pa got the question wrong because they kept mistaking the 10s place as the 1s place. As a result of that, rather than putting the 0 down and carrying the 2, adding the 2 and 5x1to reach 70, instead they were counting the 10s as 1. Also, when the guy was dividing 25 by 5, he skipped the 2 and went onto the 5 and dropped the number it went into (5) and put how many times it went into, into the answer. Then he put a zero down because 5-5=0, followed by dropping the 2 down to give a result of 20 and coincidentally 2-0=2 to make 20. Lastly, he divided 5)20 goes 4 times so he put the 4 next to the 1 he put up earlier.



  5. Hello Mrs Kane,
    I believe that Ma and Pa’s issue in their calculating was due to mistaking the ones for tens. I beleive this video is focusing on linking the numbers in the division sum and carrying numbers in the addition sum.

  6. The person who proves that 5 goes into 25 5 times is right. Because the other 2 people that show that “14” goes into 25 5 times is wrong because he was thinking that the 10 was a 1.


  7. The main mistake they have done is mixing the units and the tens.

    When they were adding the 14’s to make 25, they used the 4’s as units to add up to 20 and then used the 1’s as units to add up to 25. Adding the 4’s as units was correct but using the 1’s as units instead of tens was completely wrong!!!!

    When they were dividing the 5 into 25 they skipped the tens column, and then divided the units column by 5 to get 1. They should have put this in the units column, but they put it into the tens column. Then they divided 20 by 5 which equalled 4 and they put this into the units column giving an answer of 14.

    • Hello Lucas,
      Yes…it is all about place value. Other wise a simple equation such as 8 x 32 could possibly equal 40.
      Great work!

  8. It was very clever of Ma and Pa Kettle but their calculations were wrong instead of adding by value (like by one or tens) they were adding by wrong denomination (Place Value) for instance when they were counting 14 5 times they used the one as a unit instead of tens.

  9. Hi Mrs Kane,
    Ma and Pa are very clever, but wrong. They have mixed up how they solve the sums.
    Pa is doing long division to solve 25/5 but works Right to Left instead of Left to Right and thats why he gets his place value wrong and therefore the answer is incorrect, but his workings appear to be right in his mind!
    Ma fails to carry her tens and then doesn’t use her columns correctly when multiplying and then adds 20 and 5 to get 25 which in her mind is correct but her process is wrong.

  10. Karl, Well done I believe your explanation is very valid.
    Right to left is definately the wrong way to solve a problem of this type!
    Mrs Kane

  11. Hi Mrs. Kane,
    Ma and Pa Kettle had answered the question wrong because the seemed to have mistaken the tens for ones. The calculations were clever but also wrong. Ma Kettle did a long division, to solve 20 and 5 to get the answer of 25 and she thought that it was correct but we all know it was not. Pa Kettle divided 25 and 5 and worked from the right to the left as that was also wrong.

  12. When they were dividing the 5 into 25 they skipped the tens column, and then divided the units column by 5 to get 1. Pa Kettle was also working backwards which caused problems with adding

  13. Ma amd Pa Kettle are making the mistake of plusing the two anwers together.


    They are multiplying 5*4=20 and then multiplying 1*5=5 andthen plusing 5 and 20 = 25.

    The answer should be 70

  14. Using Tens as well as Ones is inportant. Ma and Pa Kettle dident understand that when deviding up a two diget number, if the number your using doesent go into the first number of the two didget number. you have to add the two numbers together.

  15. Hi Mrs Kane,

    What Pa Kettle did that was wroung is that when he divided 5 into 25 he worked right to left instead of left to right and and when Ma Kettle multiplied 14 by 5 she didn’t do it in one hit she added the five in the 20 instead of putting the two on the one added the two to five and it should of equalled 70.

  16. Mrs Kane
    Ma and Pa kettle got the equation wrong because thy thought that the 10 was a 1. they got there place value all mest up.
    so the answer is 5 goes into 25 5 times

  17. Ma and Pa Kettle have used theories that look correct in their heads but the outcome is wrong due to the reasons below:

    Pa Kettle made the mistake of working right to left rather then left to right and also uses the long division algorithm to work out a short division sum. Ma Kettle doesn’t use the columns correctly and not carrying the units.

    They also make the mistake while doing the division sum of saying that five cant go into two so instead of linking the two and the five to make twenty five Pa skips over the two and immediatly divides five into five.

  18. Hi Mrs Kane
    Ma and Pa Kettle were confused with the place value of the tens and ones column. They needed to add the ones column and carry over the 2 into the tens column to get the correct answer of 70. When dividing you have to divide into a bigger number again making sure you place your figures into the correct tens and ones column.

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