Primary 1 Girl Answers To Math Question Sparks Heated Debate Online On Creativity

Jia Ling

Education in Singapore is unlike the past with the primary focus on exam results. In this 21st century, we are moving into a progressive education—it is not just about academic smarts to be considered as competent. Students now are encouraged to think out of the box in approaching problems. The Ministry of Education has geared up on efforts to encourage holistic development, as young as in the preschool level. Skills like self-discovery, engaged learning, curiosity and creativity are skills/qualities makes an individual successful and employable, in addition to hard skills and the know-how.  

So when this post surfaced on Facebook, it got netizens on a heated debate. 

importance of creativity for students

Photo: Siying Tan / Facebook

Facebook user Siying Tan, shared her niece’s Primary 1 schoolwork that her brother sent over.

Along with the image, he asked Tan about what she thought about the questions. He also seemed to imply that they were crafted wrongly.

The question was asked in picture format for ducks or dogs, rather than explicitly writing “ducks” or “dogs”. 


While some of us would count the number of animals as they are without even thinking, but not for this P1 girl. She matched the number of ducks and dogs exactly as how they looked in the picture given.  


Importance of creativity for students: Girl was applauded for her creativity 


“Yes, most of you may think that my niece doesn’t know how to count, but the fact is that she is a creative girl! (at least in my opinion!) 👍👍I am so surprised that this little girl sees things from a different point of view! 👍👍” Tan wrote in her post. 


And many Facebook users agreed with what Tan spoke of her niece. 



Other parents chimed in

Some other parents have also commented that their child had the same answers. 

While many sang praises of the girl, there are others who argue that it is not a matter about creativity but grasping the fundamental concepts. 

Not an issue of creativity but basic understanding


importance of creativity for students

Nathalie said that there needs to be a balance of both, but there are “rules of the game” that the child still needs to abide by.

importance of creativity for students


Another netizen argues that it is not about the issue of creativity, but basic understanding as it is impossible to plan a foolproof question that satisfies every single person. 

A strong foundation is still needed, no matter what, Loon Tze Tan agrees. 

Girl has great observational skills however

Despite the varying opinions, one thing that is indisputable: the girl’s meticulous nature.  


Meant to be a trick question?


Many of the comments pointed towards the wrong structuring of the question, and that it was misleading.



While some of the suggestions were to use words to ask the question rather than using pictures, there are differing viewpoints.

But it holds a double-edged sword, according to Khiu Ke Jun.


importance of creativity for students


An indicator of high IQ?


Is it truly possible to determine what smart or being brilliant is? While there are no clear answers, and this is just one example out of many, studies have shown that curiosity in a child is one of the strongest markers of academic success

So parents, perhaps the conversations shared is something to think about.

You can view Siying Tan’s full post here.

importance of creativity for students

Also READ: How To Put Communication And Collaboration Skills In Kids To Action

Importance of creativity for students

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