A homework question from Bellamy School in Rome about mixing 'medicine' for a mean grandmother is creating a stir on Facebook. But is the math problem inappropriate or just a simple mix-up?

The question concerns George mixing different amounts of windshield washer fluid, bleach and detergent to give his 'mean old grandma' to make 6 doses (spoonfuls) of 'medicine.' "As a grandmother, I'm very offended," said Lucy Saul on Facebook. "How can this be approved by the school district? I would not want this teacher teaching any of my children."

Photo Credit - Kris Welch Massocco
Photo Credit - Facebook

The question is from a 5th grade class and connects with a book the students are reading in English Language Arts from Roald Dhal called 'George's Marvelous Medicine.' "The staff were attempting to connect the ELA work with the math work, which is appropriate and encouraged for all teachers," says Peter Blake, Superintendent of schools.

In the book, George attempts to make a medicine for his mean old grandma to make her grow taller.

George decides to make a magic medicine. He collects a variety of ingredients from around the family farm including deodorant and shampoo from the bathroom, floor polish from the laundry room, horseradish sauce and gin from the kitchen, animal medicines, engine oil and anti-freeze from the garage, and brown paint to mimic the color of grandma's original medicine.

"The problem is, most people don't have the background context of the book to understand the innocence of the question," says Blake. "On the surface, the question can be deemed alarming and insensitive. In context of the classroom and what the kids were learning in totality, the question connects their units of study well."

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