Quandaries and Queries

My name is Helena and I am 10 years old. On a resent math exam I was asked the question" How many sides does a circle have?" and I wrote down none. The teacher said the answer was one side.To say the least I got that question wrong and two more relating to that question. The next question was one triangle and one circle have how many sides. The teacher said 4. The last mistake was if you have ten circles how many sides do you have and the answer was ten but of course I put none. Can you PLEASE help me with this answer. Was I really wrong.? I thank you for taking the time to help me with this question. Helena


Hi Helena,

We sympathize with your frustration. There is no natural way to define the side of a circle. Definitions should be given only for those concepts that are going to be referred to over and over in the course of your study. The side of a circle is not such a concept. Questions about what to define and how to define it are really advanced and should be left for the higher grades. We gave a similar answer a while ago to an an older student. Perhaps your teacher will be willing to discuss your grade with you, particularly if you tell her that zero was the CORRECT answer according to the teacher of a student who last year sent us a similar question.


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