Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Justin:

I'm trying to find the width of a rectangle. I have its area and its height. The area is 32 inches square and the width is 4 feet (48 inches). Can someone help explain this to me?

Hi Justin,

Are you sure the numbers are correct? It looks a little strange.

The area of a rectangle is the length times the width so if your 48 inch long rectangle were 1 inch high its area would be 48 × 1 = 48 square inches. But your rectangle has an area of 32 square inches so it must be less than 1 inch high.

If the area was 36 square inches then you would know that

48 × height = 36

and thus

height = 36/48 = 3/4 inches.

But you have an area of 32 square inches so what is the height?


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