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Math Help - Assistance with algebra word problem

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Assistance with algebra word problem

    Explain why it would be easy to interpret the picture incorrectly as showing that 4*3\5=12\20. Explain how to interpret the picture correctly, and explain why your interpretation fits with the meaning of 4*3\5


    picture

    (5 rectangles divided into each whole box. 3 are shaded and 2 are unshaded in each box)
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  2. #2
    Senior Member MacstersUndead's Avatar
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    Re: Assistance with algebra word problem

    If there are four whole boxes, here's how the picture could be interpreted incorrectly.
    "There are 5 rectangles total for each whole box, 3 of which are filled in. When there are four such boxes, there are 20 rectangles total with 12 shaded in. Hence \frac{4*3}{5} = \frac{12}{20}"

    This interpretation is incorrect because we are multiplying the number of shaded and unshaded boxes by 4. and so a true interpretation of the picture would be \frac{4}{4} * \frac{3}{5} = \frac{12}{20}
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