Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Stephanie, a student:

The national flag of France has a width-to-length ratio of 2 : 3. What is the width of an 18-inch long French flag?

Hi Stephanie,

The statement "width-to-length ratio of 2 : 3" means that whatever units of length you use the flag is 2 units wide and 3 units long. So it the units were feet then the flag would be 2 feet wide and 3 feet long. If this were a small flag for a child to wav at a parade it might be 4 inches wide. So in this case 2 units is 4 inches so one unit is 2 inches. The flag is 3 unit long so that's 2 × 3 = 6 inches.

What are the units if the flag is 18 inches long? How wide is it?


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