Question

Dear Mitch,

Since October is now officially over, would you please post the solution to the balance scale problem you put up a few weeks ago utilizing three past U.S. presidents who had October birthdays (Theodore Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, and John Adams).

Specificallly, the question asked "Based upon the two perfectly balanced scales, scale A and scale B, how many Theodore Roosevelts would a person have to put on the right-hand side of scale C in order to balance it with the left-hand side of that scale?" (The left-hand side had four depictions of John Adams on it.)

My teacher is going to give out the answer he got, but he's not going to do it until

Wednesday, so I thought it would be cool to check the answer I got with you before then, so I could bring it in.

Thanks a lot,

J.J. B.

Answer

Dear J.J. B.,

Sure!

The answer is 5.

Based on the information that can be derived from the balance depicted on scale A and the balance depicted on scale B, It would take five (5) Theodore Roosevelts on the right-hand side of scale C in order to form a balance with the four John Adams on the left-hand side of scale C.

If you arrived at a different answer or would like an explanation of how I arrived at mine, just write in and I will be happy to post the steps of my thinking. (Though here's a hint: You could just assign a letter to each of the presidents depicted and solve it algebraically as a system of equations!)

Hope this helps,

Mitch