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Math Help - sample test question

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Joined
    Sep 2009
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    sample test question

    My teacher sent out a sample test in preparation for tomorrows actual test. He says he will just "massage" the numbers.
    Here is one question that has me flustered.

    A rancher has 60 feet of fence to make a rectangular pen using a
    long existing stone wall as one side. What is the maximum area that can
    be made?

    I was trying to solve by trial and error, but that isn't working.
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  2. #2
    MHF Contributor
    Joined
    Dec 2007
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    Ottawa, Canada
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    The fence will make up 3 sides of the pen; follow that?
    Let a = each of the 2 sides perpendicular to the stone wall:
    then 60 - 2a is length of each of the other 2 sides: OK?

    So Area = a(60 - 2a) = 60a - 2a^2
    Maximize that!
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