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Math Help - Age word problem using 2 variables

  1. #1
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    Age word problem using 2 variables

    John is 20 years older than Steve. In 10 years, Steve's age will be half that of John's. What is Steve's age?

    I'm having trouble using two variables to setup and solve this problem. I first translated the problem into two equations using j for John and s for Steve:

    John is 20 years older than Steve

    j = 20 + s

    In 10 years, Steve's age will be half of John's.

    s + 10 = 1/2j


    Since I already know what j is from the first equation, I plug that into the second equation but it doesn't work. Why? This is driving me nuts.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by HKarl View Post
    John is 20 years older than Steve. In 10 years, Steve's age will be half that of John's. What is Steve's age?

    I'm having trouble using two variables to setup and solve this problem. I first translated the problem into two equations using j for John and s for Steve:

    John is 20 years older than Steve

    j = 20 + s

    In 10 years, Steve's age will be half of John's.

    s + 10 = 1/2j


    Since I already know what j is from the first equation, I plug that into the second equation but it doesn't work. Why? This is driving me nuts.
    With your 2nd equation you state that John doesn't get any older. Quite unusual.

    j = 20 + s

    1/2(j + 10) = s + 10

    And now solve for (j, s)
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