How to Solve Word Problems Involving Ratio Part 1

In a dance school, 18 girls and 8 boys are enrolled. We can say that the ratio of girls to boys is 18:8 (read as 18 is to 8). Ratio can also be expressed as fraction so we can say that the ratio is 18/8. Since we can reduce fractions to lowest terms, we can also say that the ratio is 9/4 or 9:4. So, ratio can be a relationship between two quantities. It can also be ratio between two numbers like 4:3 which is the ratio of the width and height of a television screen.

Problem 1

The ratio of boys and girls in a dance club is 4:5. The total number of students is 63. How many girls and boys are there in the club?

Solution and Explanation

The ratio of boys is 4:5 means that for every 4 boys, there are 5 girls. That means that if there are 2 groups of 4 boys, there are also 2 groups of 5 girls. So by calculating them and adding, we have

4 + 5 = 9
4(2) +5(2) =18
4(3) +5(3) =27
4(4) +5(4) = 36
4(5) +5(5) = 45
4(6) +5(6) =54
4(7) +5(7) =63

As we can see, we are looking for the number of groups of 4 and, and the answer is 7 groups of each. So there are 4(7) = 28 boys and 5(7) = 35 girls.

As you can observe, the number of groups of 4 is the same as the number of groups of 5. Therefore, the question above is equivalent to finding the number of groups (of 4 and 5), whose total number of persons add up to 63.

Algebraically, if we let x be the number of groups of 4, then it is also the number of groups of 5. So, we can make the following equation.

4 x number of groups + 5 x number of groups of 5 = 63

Or

4x + 5x = 63.

Simplifying, we have

9x = 63
x = 7.

So there are 4(7) = 28 boys and 5(7) = 35 girls. As we can see, we confirmed the answer above using algebraic methods.

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1 Response

  1. September 30, 2015

    […] How to Solve Word Problems Involving Ratio Part 1 details the intuitive meaning of ratio.  It uses arithmetic calculations in order to explain its meaning. After the explanation, the algebraic solution to the problem is also discussed. […]

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