Steps for Solving Algebraic Word Problems - h1014v1_157
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WORD PROBLEMS
Steps for Solving Algebraic Word Problems - h1014v1_158
Mathematics Volume 1 of 2
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Algebra
WORD PROBLEMS
If we let Bob’s age be represented by the symbol
B
and Joe’s age by the symbol
J
, this becomes
B
=
J
+ 30 years
Examples:
Equations:
1.
The total electrical output of one nuclear facility is 200 megawatts more
than that of another nuclear facility.
Let
L
be the output of the larger facility and
S
the capacity of the smaller facility.
The statement above written in equation form becomes
L
= 200
MW
+
S
.
2.
The flow in one branch of a piping system is one-third that in the other
branch.
If
B
is the flow in the branch with more flow, and
b
is the flow in the smaller
branch, this statement becomes the equation
.
b
1
3
B
3.
A man is three times as old as his son was four years ago.
Let
M
= man’s age and
S
= son’s age. Then
M
= 3 (
S
-4).
4.
A car travels in one hour 40 miles less than twice as far as it travels in the
next hour.
Let
x
_{1}
be the distance it travels the first hour and
x
_{2}
the distance it travels the
second then,
x
_{1}
= (2) (
x
_{2}
) -40.
Steps
for
Solving
Algebraic
Word
Problems
Algebraic word problems can involve any number of unknowns, and they can require any number
of equations to solve. However, regardless of the number of unknowns or equations involved,
the basic approach to solving these problems is the same. First, condense the available
information into algebraic equations, and, second, solve the equations. The most straightforward
type of algebraic word problems are those that require only one equation to solve. These
problems are solved using five basic steps.
Step 1.
Let some letter, such as
x
, represent one of the unknowns.
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