Algebra: Jill cut 3 1/2 ft chain into 2 pieces in order to hang 2 bird feeders. The longer piece of chain was 1 5/6 ft long. Tell how to write and solve an equation to find the length of the shorter piece.

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Let's write down what we know.

the total amount of chain is 3 1/2 ft

There are two piece of chains, let's call x=chain 1 and y=chain 2

we know that the longer chain was 1 5/6 long. For the sake of the argument, let's call x the longer chain. In otherwords x=1 5/6

We know that the sum of the two chains must be 3 1/2 ft, to solve for y, we set up an equation as follows

x+y= 3 1/2

1 5/6 +y= 3 1/2

Lets change the mixed fractions into simple fractions.

1 5/6= 1 x 6+5=11/6

3 1/2= 3 x 2+1=7/2

11/6 +y=7/2 (subtract 11/6 from both sides)

y=7/2-11/6 (get a common denominator, in this case it is 6. So we just have to multiply the first fraction by 3/3)

y=21/6-11/6=10/6=5/3

y= 1 2/3 back in mixed franction

Check your work.

1 5/6+1 2/3 (put into simple fractions)

11/6+5/3 (multiply the second equation by 2/2 to get a common denominator)

11/6+10/6=21/6=7/2

Which is exactly what 3 1/2 is! Thus our answer is correct.

thus chain 1= 1 5/6 ft and chain 2 = 1 2/3ft

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