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Math Help - Word problem help please!

  1. #1
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    Word problem help please!

    11 years ago Helen was four times as old as Ed. In one year Helen will be two times Ed's age. How old are they now?

    I also need to see the formula so I can try to learn the process. Thanks
    so much!
    Last edited by Nicv; June 15th 2005 at 04:01 AM.
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  2. #2
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    17 and 35?
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  3. #3
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    word problem help please!

    I also need to know how to do it! Thanks
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  4. #4
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    I didn't use a formula as such, I just woked it out by trial and error using what is said in the question. I didn't start at Ed being one or two because their ages would be too close together.

    I tried:
    Ed Helen
    3 12
    add 11 to both to get:
    14 23
    add 1 to both to get:
    15 24

    Helen is not two times Ed's age yet, so carry on until she is.


    Ed Helen
    6 24
    add 11 to both to get:
    17 35
    add 1 to both to get:
    18 36

    So, in a years time, Helen will be twice Ed's age, but they want their ages now, so it's 17 and 35.


    I'm not very good at the explanation part, so maybe someone else will be able to help better.
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  5. #5
    Site Founder Math Help's Avatar
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    Two equations two unknowns

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicv
    11 years ago Helen was four times as old as Ed. In one year Helen will be two times Ed's age. How old are they now?

    I also need to see the formula so I can try to learn the process. Thanks
    so much!
    H-11=4(E-11)
    H+1=2(E+1)

    Then you have two equations and two unknowns.
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  6. #6
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    Just don't know where to begin with this one!
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  7. #7
    Site Founder Math Help's Avatar
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    Begining the problem

    To begin:

    You must extract relevant information from the problem:

    1. 11 years ago Helen was four times as old as Ed
    2. In one year Helen will be two times Ed's age

    Then convert those two sentances into equations as I did above.

    Once you have two equations and two unknowns it is a matter of substitution which I can help you along with if you need it.

    Try to make sense of the equations I posted above and hopefully you will have your "aha!" moment.
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  8. #8
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    I think the problem for me is that I can figure it out when I am only looking for one variable. Would it work for me if I used Helen as H and the brother as H4?

    H-11=4(H-11)

    H+1=2(H+1)

    This class is a seven week elementary algebra class and I have never taken this stuff before.
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