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Solving by Combinations
Though some students may prefer to solve them using substitution techniques, these problems involve systems of equations that lend themselves to being solved by combination methods.

Related Resources
Interactive resources from our Math Tools project:
   Algebra: Linear Systems
The closest match in our Ask Dr. Math archives:
   High School: Linear Equations
NCTM Standards:
   Algebra Standard for Grades 9-12

Access to these problems requires a Membership.

The ABC's of Exponents - Steve Risberg
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Solve a system of equations involving exponents. ... more>>

Adrienne's Axel - Leslie Hogben
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Adrienne, an algebraically inclined figure skater, figures an interesting problem for us. ... more>>

The Ages of Sigma - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 1. Find the ages of the three artists who make up the latest singing sensation: Sigma. ... more>>

Crossed Wires - Steve Risberg
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Guy wires support two poles of different heights. Find the height of their intersection and explore what happens as the distance between the poles changes. ... more>>

The Custom of Customs - Ethel Breuche
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Two wine merchants enter Paris with their merchandise. They need to pay custom duties. Each pays with francs and with some casks of wine. What is each cask of wine worth and what is the duty on each cask? ... more>>

Escalation - Melissa Kennedy
Algebra, difficulty level 2. A rate, time, distance problem that involves finding the number of steps on an escalator. ... more>>

Flatland Soldiers - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 1. Find the size of the vertex angle of a soldier in the world of Flatland, a famous book by Edwin A. Abbott. ... more>>

Four Men and Some Money - Daboll
Algebra, difficulty level 1. Four men (A, B, C, & D) are splitting up a quantity of money ($100), and need your help to do it. ... more>>

Gumballs Galore! - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Two famous characters from literature go on a gumball shopping spree. ... more>>

Highway Miles - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Find the number of miles a person travels on a highway, given the number of gallons of gas and the consumption rate. ... more>>

Jimmy's Hits - Terry Trotter & Annie Fetter
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Given information about how many doubles, homers, and singles, figure out how many total hits Jimmy had during his record-breaking season. ... more>>

Johnny's Orchards - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Johnny Appleseed plants three rectangular orchards of various shapes. If each orchard holds the same number of seeds, how many seeds did he plant? ... more>>

Lieutenant Stone's Troops - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Find the number of soldiers, performing in a formal military ceremony, who were marching in various rectangular arrangements. ... more>>

Lost in Mathland - Steve Risberg
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Zach and Zeke get separated while hiking in Mathland, where roads are named with equations. Zeke is at the intersection of three roads - can you help Zach determine where he is? ... more>>

Math Club Mystery - Steve Risberg
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Given information about the total number of people, ticket prices, and money spent, determine how many students, teachers, and parents went on the Math Club field trip. ... more>>

The Mensa Toy Store - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 2. The prices are strange in this store. Can you decipher them? ... more>>

Milly Miffin's Muffins - J. A. H. Hunter
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Milly Miffin et al. are muffin makers extraordinaires, and they make muffins mathematically, too. The question is, how many? ... more>>

The Mystery Quadrilateral - Annie Fetter & Dr. Math
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Three consecutive sides of a quadrilateral are 2, 6, 9, and x. If the diagonals are perpendicular, what's x? ... more>>

Peanuts and Cashews - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 1. Find the proper mixture of nuts that have a certain price rate to be sold in the nut store. ... more>>

Pizza Puzzle - Steve Risberg
Algebra, difficulty level 1. Given two pricing examples, determine a general equation for the cost of a Giordano's Giant gourmet pizza. ... more>>

The Professors' Ages - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Find the professors' ages to complete the requested calculation. ... more>>

Shanell's Holiday Treats - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Given some data about purchasing fancy nuts for cooking, find the total cost of buying one pound of each type. ... more>>

The Sprats - Terry Trotter & Lisa Lavelle
Algebra, difficulty level 2. The Sprats go out to dinner three times, and at each meal they order a different combination of two of their three favorite dishes. Given the bill for each meal, determine how much the Sprats' favorites cost individually. ... more>>

Studying the Standings - Steve Risberg
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Write and solve a system of equations to determine how many points the Potters have in the World Tiddlywinks League standings. ... more>>

Sums, Quotients, and Remainders - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Given the sum of two numbers and information about the quotient and remainder when they are divided, find the larger number, then solve the same sort of problem in a general case. ... more>>

Teeter Troop - Steve Risberg
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Four animals are balancing a seesaw. Can you determine how much each one weighs? ... more>>

The Coordinate Carousel - Steve Risberg
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Mrs. Nomial is watching her daughters on the carousel and notices something interesting. Determine how far away from the edge of the carousel she is standing. ... more>>

The Three Jelly Bean Jars - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Three brothers buy jelly beans. The jelly beans are in jars that are three different sizes. How many jelly beans does each brother buy? ... more>>

Tribonacci - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Find the second and third terms of a "Tribonacci" sequence. ... more>>

Two for Two - Annie Fetter
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Two numbers have a ratio of 5:3. The larger number is 36 more than half the difference of the two numbers. What are the two numbers? ... more>>

Two for Two More - Annie Fetter
Algebra, difficulty level 3. Two numbers have a ratio of 4:3. The greater number is 60 more than 8 times their difference. What could the two numbers be? ... more>>

The Unhappy Carpenter - Ethel Breuche
Algebra, difficulty level 1. A carpenter agrees to be paid a certain amount of money when she works, and to repay money on the days she doesn't work. Find the number of days she worked if she earned $77.00. ... more>>

The Variable Rectangle - Terry Trotter and Friends
Algebra, difficulty level 1. Increase a rectangle's width and decrease its length each by 1 and the area is decreased by 4. But decrease its width by 1 and increase its length by 2, and the area is increased by 16. What's the area of the original rectangle? ... more>>

Walter's Weird Wages - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Walter's eccentric parents give their son his housework wages in a strange way. Can you determine how much he receives? ... more>>

Weighing Kittens - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Given some facts, figure out how many ounces each of seven kittens weighs. ... more>>

What's what? - Terry Trotter (author unknown)
Algebra, difficulty level 2. A poetical puzzle to ponder about: "What is WHAT?" ... more>>

Winter Gold - Terry Trotter
Algebra, difficulty level 2. Given some clues, figure out how many gold medals were won by each country. ... more>>

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