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This module covers word problems involving simultaneous equations.

Many students approach math with the attitude that “I can do the equations, but I’m just not a ‘word problems’ person.” No offense, but that’s like saying “I’m pretty good at handling a tennis racket, as long as there’s no ball involved.” The only point of handling the tennis racket is to hit the ball. The only point of math equations is to solve problems. So if you find yourself in that category, try this sentence instead: “I’ve never been good at word problems. There must be something about them I don’t understand, so I’ll try to learn it.”

Actually, many of the key problems with word problems were discussed in the very beginning of the “Functions” unit, in the discussion of variable descriptions. So this might be a good time to quickly re-read that section. If you can correctly identify the variables, you’re half-way through the hard part of a word problem. The other half is translating the sentences of the problem into equations that use those variables.

Let’s work through an example, very carefully.

Simultaneous equation word problem

A roll of dimes and a roll of quarters lie on the table in front of you. There are three more quarters than dimes. But the quarters are worth three times the amount that the dimes are worth. How many of each do you have?

  • Identify and label the variables.
    • There are actually two different, valid ways to approach this problem. You could make a variable that represents the number of dimes; or you could have a variable that represents the value of the dimes. Either way will lead you to the right answer. However, it is vital to know which one you’re doing! If you get confused half-way through the problem, you will end up with the wrong answer.
    Let’s try it this way:
    d is the number of dimes
    q is the number of quarters
  • Translate the sentences in the problem into equations.
    • “There are three more quarters than dimes” q = d + 3
    • “The quarters are worth three times the amount that the dimes are worth” 25 q = 3 ( 10 d ) size 12{ rightarrow "25"q=3 \( "10"d \) } {}
    • This second equation relies on the fact that if you have q size 12{q} {} quarters, they are worth a total of 25 q size 12{"25"q} {} cents.
  • Solve.
    • We can do this by elimination or substitution. Since the first equation is already solved for q size 12{q} {} , I will substitute that into the second equation and then solve.
    25 d + 3 = 3 10 d size 12{"25" left (d+3 right )=3 left ("10"d right )} {}
    25 d + 75 = 30 d size 12{"25"d+"75"="30"d} {}
    75 = 5d size 12{"75"=5d} {}
    d = 15 size 12{d="15"} {}
    q = 18 size 12{q="18"} {}

So, did it work? The surest check is to go all the way back to the original problem—not the equations, but the words. We have concluded that there are 15 dimes and 18 quarters.

“There are three more quarters than dimes.”

“The quarters are worth three times the amount that the dimes are worth.” size 12{ rightarrow } {} Well, the quarters are worth 18 25 = $ 4 . 50 size 12{"18" cdot "25"=$4 "." "50"} {} . The dimes are worth 15 10 = $ 1 . 50 size 12{"15" cdot "10"=$1 "." "50"} {} .

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Math 1508 (lecture) readings in precalculus. OpenStax CNX. Aug 24, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11354/1.1
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