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### Solving Equations

```
Date: 3/23/96 at 22:15:3
From: Anonymous
Subject: Solving equations

Dear Dr. Math,

I have a problem.  Can you help?

4        3         1
----- -  ------ = -------
b       b+2      b(b+2)

```

```
Date: 3/24/96 at 13:15:29
From: Doctor Jodi
Subject: Re: Solving equations

Hi there!

Since each of these terms has b and/or b+2 in the denominator,
first I would multiply by b* (b+2).  That gives us:

4b(b+2)  - 3b(b+2)   = 1b (b+2)
------     ------      -------
b          b+2        b(b+2)

Now we can rewrite these fractions as

4(b+2) * b   - 3b * b+2  = 1 * b  * b+2
-          ---        --   ---
b          b+2        b    b+2

Since b/b and (b+2)/(b+2) are both equal to 1 (do you see why?) we
can rewrite this again:

(4(b+2) * 1) - 3b*1 = 1*1*1

which also equals

4(b+2) - 3b = 1

Now we can expand 4(b+2) by multiplying both b and 2 times 4 to get
4b+8.

Does that make sense?

Now let's put that back into our equation above.

4b+8 - 3b = 1

So, subtracting 3b from 4b, we get

b + 8 = 1

Now, let's subtract 8 from each side:

b + 8 = 1
- 8  -8
__________

b  = -7

Write back if you have any questions!

-Doctor Jodi,  The Math Forum
Check out our web site!  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
```

```
Date: 3/25/96 at 1:30:20
From: Anonymous
Subject: Solving equations

Dear Dr. Math,

I have another problem:

During one week in a particular city 5 percent more boys than girls
were born. if the total number of babies born was 410, find the number
of each.

Can you help?

Also:

A batch of articles is sold for \$810. if each article cost \$43.20 and
the profit made was 25 percent, how many articles were there in the
batch?

Thanks.
```

```
Date: 3/25/96 at 11:14:15
From: Doctor Ethan
Subject: Re: Solving equations

Hello,

These problems are very similar, so I will work one for you
and explain each step, and then I will let you work the other one.

Let's try to make a chart, okay?

Boys  *  Girls * Total
***********************
*        *  410

We want to find out how many of each were born, so choose a letter to
represent one of them.  Let's let y be the number of girls born.

Then how many boys were born? Well, the problem says that 5 percent
more were born - this means that the number of boys =

y + 5%y  =   y + .05y  =  1.05 y

So now we can fill in the chart.

Boys   *  Girls * Total
***********************
1.05y *   y    *  410

So 1.05y + y = 410

So 2.05 y = 410.

Now we just divide both sides by 2.05 and get  y = 200 .

Hope that method helps you with the next one.

-Doctor Ethan,  The Math Forum
Check out our web site!  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
```

```
Date: 4/24/96 at 7:23:31
From: Anonymous
Subject: Solving equations

Dear Dr. Math,

I have been given these equations to solve using the easiest method.
I have tried all different ways but it never seems to work. Please
explain.

2(x2+2x) = 4

(The two next to the x in the bracket means to the power of two.)

3b2-2b+4 = 0

(The two next to the b is also to the power of two.)

```

```
Date: 7/16/96 at 17:52:32
From: Doctor Alain
Subject: Re: Solving equations

Hello!

Let's look at the first equation,

2(x^2+2x) = 4         if we divide by 2 we get
x^2+2x = 2            if we substract 2 we get
x^2+2x-2 = 0.

To find the solution to this equation we will use the quadratic
formula, which you have probably learned at school.

This formula says that if

ax^2 + bx + c = 0

then

(i)   x=(-b + Sqrt(b^2-4ac))/(2a)   or
(ii)  x=(-b - Sqrt(b^2-4ac))/(2a).

In the case in question we are trying to solve a=1, b=2 and c=-2.
So we have 2 solutions,

(i)  x = (-2 + Sqrt(2^2-4 (1) (-2)))/(2 (1))
= (-2 + Sqrt(4 + 8))/2
= -2/2 + Sqrt(12)/2
= -1 + Sqrt(12/4)
= -1 + Sqrt(3)

or

(ii) x = (-2 - Sqrt(2^2-4 (1) (-2)))/(2 (1))
= (-2 - Sqrt(4 + 8))/2
= -2/2 - Sqrt(12)/2
= -1 - Sqrt(12/4)
= -1 - Sqrt(3).

The other problem is similar and uses the same quadratic formula,
but be careful, the b in the formula must not be confused with the
b in the problem.

-Doctor Alain,  The Math Forum
Check out our web site!  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
```
Associated Topics:
Middle School Algebra

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