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Math Help - I want to learn how to solve this (probably basic) word problem.

  1. #1
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    Talking I want to learn how to solve this (probably basic) word problem.

    I would prefer to be able to write an equation that could solve this but I can not. I have spent hours thinking about this word problem, It has a picture, but I'll just describe it.

    It has been a while since I was in a math class and this problem really blows my mind . Not in an angry way like the emoticon.

    There are 3 different colored spheres. Red, white, and blue.

    1 red sphere and 1 blue sphere weigh equally as much as 6 white spheres.

    1 red sphere and 2 white spheres weigh equally as much as 3 blue spheres.

    Each color of sphere has a different weight. How many white spheres will balance with 1 red sphere?

    It's either 4 or 2. Its obviously not the other two multiple choice answers. 8 and 6.

    Thank ya.
    Last edited by ItsKindOfFun; February 13th 2013 at 05:20 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Re: I want to learn how to solve this (probably basic) word problem.

    Let r be the number of red spheres, w be the number of whites, and b the number of blues. We have
    r+b=6w and r+2w=3b ... What you need to do is to get rid of the b. Here's what I did. Rewrite the equations as

    r - 6w + b = 0
    r + 2w - 3b = 0

    Multiply the top equation by 3 and add the two equations togeter.

    3r - 18w + 3b = 0
    r + 2x - 3b = 0

    4 r - 16 w = 0

    Can you take it from there?

    This is just a matter of practice. You'll get it.
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  3. #3
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    Re: I want to learn how to solve this (probably basic) word problem.

    Oh wait nvm, I get it r = 4w.

    Thanks a ton.

    but why did you multiply the top by three?

    EDIT: oh you multiplied it by three so you could eliminate the b.

    Thanks again.

    I can't figure out how to mark the thread as solved.
    Last edited by ItsKindOfFun; February 13th 2013 at 08:07 PM.
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