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Here’s a Math problem that was covered today in our professional development course.

The total is 36. When you add two numbers, the smaller number is one third the size of the large number. What are the two addends?

We were trying to solve the problem using a variety of strategies. I tried guess and check, drawing a picture and then – stick with me, algebra. It was more an attempt to see if I still remembered middle school algebra.

The algebraic equation (one complicated means to solve the problem) looks like this 1/3X + X = 36 ——> 4/3X = 36 ——-> 4x = 108 (multiplied both sides by 3). There’s 108. But wait, there’s more. 4 goes into 108 twenty-seven times. 27 = X . 108 was key in solving the equation!