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Word Problems

Browse Middle School Word Problems
Stars indicate particularly interesting answers or good places to begin browsing.

Selected answers to common questions:
    Mixture problems.

Ratio of Rates and Work [06/06/1998]
Given the rates of 5 semi-skilled and 4 skilled workers, can you find how long it takes 1 semi-skilled and 2 skilled workers to do a job?

Ratios and Mixtures [05/10/2001]
Sue needs to mix up a potion for her client... in what ratio must Sue mix the honey and turpentine?

Ratio Set-Up Problem [09/02/2003]
Concrete can be made by mixing cement, sand, and gravel in the ratio 3:6:8. How much gravel is needed to make 850 m^3 of cement?

Reba's Physics Problems [12/09/2001]
Reba's dad said he'd pay her a quarter for each correct answer and fine her a dime for each incorrect answer. She received $3.80 after doing 25 problems. How many problems did she answer correctly?

Reciprocal Rate [11/28/2001]
An automobile gets 20 miles per gallon of fuel. Compute the reciprocal rate giving units of measurement.

Road Under Construction [9/8/1996]
On a 6-hour, 295 mile trip, Adam traveled at 50 mph except where there was construction, when he went 40 mph. How many miles of road were under construction?

Rounding Off an Answer to Fit the Situation [09/12/2004]
Are there times when you might round an answer up or down based on the situation in the problem and not the standard rounding rules?

Rowing Upstream and Down [5/9/1996]
Karen can row a boat 10 kilometers per hour in still water...

Running Problem (Time and Distance) [8/31/1996]
If Lucy runs 3 mph and Jan runs 7 mph, when will Jan catch up with Lucy if she gives Lucy a head start?

The Sailor's Reward Problem and Prime Numbers [12/11/2004]
Does the answer to the classic Sailor's Reward problem have to be a prime number?

Sales and Taxes [03/11/2001]
I bought $27.97 worth of food. The food tax is 5.5%. I'm trying to find the tax I have to pay, and the total amount that I pay.

Same Day Off? [12/08/2002]
One person has every ninth day off and started on Sunday, and another person has every sixth day off and started on Monday. When will they both be off on the same day?

Savings on Gasoline [05/22/2001]
Your old car averaged 22 mpg and you new car should average 37 mpg. Suppose you drive 12,500 miles per year and the cost of gas averages $1.85 per gallon. How much will you save on gasoline each year?

Scale Factor Acrobatics [07/15/2014]
A homeschooled teen struggles to make headway with a word problem in two unknowns. After emphasizing the scale factor in their ratio, Doctor Ian models the scenario algebraically.

Sergeant Marco's Maintenance Check [3/11/1995]
Corporal Jones takes 12 hours to complete a planned maintenance check on an anti-submarine helicopter. Jones had been working on a helicopter for 4 hours when sergeant Marco arrived to help him finish the job. They complete the check in 2 hours. How long would it have taken Sergeant Marco to complete the job alone?

Setting Up Algebraic Word Problems [08/04/2003]
If each photocopy of a manuscript costs 4 cents per page, what is the cost, in cents, to reproduce x copies of an x-page manuscript?

Setting Up Equations [11/26/1997]
An airplane travels eight times as fast as a car. The difference in their speeds is 420 km/h. How fast is each vehicle travelling?

Setting Up Proportions and Unit Conversions [7/25/1996]
If you can run 100 meters in 10 seconds, how long, in days, hours, and minutes, does it take you to run 12,800,000 meters?

Setting Up the Equation for a Word Problem [2/1/1996]
How many apples do I have if I get 22 from my mom and twice as many from my dad and then have to give half to my sister and have to throw away 8 of them because they are bad?

Several Ways to Solve a Rate-Time-Distance Problem [02/14/2006]
A bus leaves point A travelling at a speed of 10 mph. 22 minutes later a car leaves point A travelling in the same direction as the bus at 40 mph. At what distance will the car catch the bus, and how much time will have elapsed since the car left point A?

Shadow Game [01/28/2001]
Tom is 6 feet tall and Carol is 5 feet tall. If Carol stands at the "shadow top" of Tom's head, their two combined shadows total 15 feet. How long is each shadow?

Sharing Money [01/25/1997]
Three people have various numbers of coins. How can they share the coins so that each has the same amount of money?

Sharing the Cost of the Weekend Trip [07/24/2003]
A group of people planned to rent a large beach house for a weekend trip. They were to share the $800 cost equally. However, two people were unable to go and this increased the cost for each person by $20. How many persons were in the original group?

Sheep Shearing Rule [03/20/2003]
Eric the sheep is waiting in line to be shorn. Each time a sheep at the front of the line gets shorn, Eric sneaks up line four places. Describe a rule you could use to find the number of sheep shorn before Eric for any number of sheep in front of him.

Shopping [8/26/1996]
Which items should a shopper buy if she wants to spend as much of the $62.00 she has as possible?

Simple Equations from Word Problems [5/23/1996]
I'm having trouble with some problem-solving questions...

Simultaneous Equations [08/10/1997]
A, B, and C can finish a job in 6 days... In how many days can each man working alone do the job?

Single Variable Algebraic Mixture Problem [05/03/2005]
Brittany needs a mixture of 76% oats and 24% corn. She currently has 25 pounds of a mixture that is 28% oats. How many pounds of oats should be added to the mixture?

Six Chickens, Five Minutes [01/09/2003]
If 1 and 1/2 chickens lay 1 and 1/2 eggs in 1 and 1/2 minutes, how many eggs will 6 chickens lay in 5 minutes?

Six Quarts of Water, 2 Containers [08/24/1997]
How can you measure 6 quarts of water with only 4-qt. and 9-qt. pails?

Snails Crossing the Lawn [07/26/1997]
It takes 10 snails 50 minutes to cross a lawn from when the first snail slithers on to the lawn to the moment the last snail leaves...

Solution Using Verbal Argument and Model [02/06/2002]
Mr. Li has fewer than 200 sweets. He wants to give each pupil in his class an equal number of sweets. If he gives each pupil 2 sweets, he will have 70 sweets left over; if 4, he will need 10 more sweets. How many pupils are there in the class? How many sweets does Mr. Li have?

Solve a Simpler Problem [09/25/2000]
What day of the week is the 3,824th day after Wednesday? How will this help me in life?

Solving a Fraction Problem Using Common Sense [03/21/2004]
When the gun sounded, only two-fifths of the racers began to run. If 460 racers began to run, how many racers were there in all? Can you show me how to figure out what a fraction is without knowing the total number?

Solving a Math Poem [05/24/2000]
Take five times which plus half of what, and make the square of what you've got...

Solving a Mixture Problem Intuitively and with Algebra [07/06/2007]
There are 7 litres of turpentine in a mixture of 21 litres of water and turpentine. How many litres of turpentine must be added to make a mixture of 75% turpentine?

Solving an Algebra Word Problem [10/11/1995]
Two members of the track team spent 18 h in total training one week. Amy spent 2h 20 min more than Becky. How long did each spend?

Solving a Typical Rate-Time-Distance Problem [09/02/2005]
A look at how to use algebra to solve problems involving rates, times, and distances. The problem in this example centers around walking and running at two different rates for a total of 3 hours.

Solving for Multiple Unknowns [03/22/2003]
Three chickens and one duck cost as much as two geese. One chicken, two ducks and three geese cost $25. What is the cost of each bird?

Solving for Time [2/1/1996]
You are traveling 55 mph over a bridge that is 4260 ft. long. How long does it take to cross the bridge?

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