Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Sandra, a parent:

A rectangle with the dimensions of 6.3 cm and 5.8 cm is reduced by a scale factor of 1/3. What are the dimensions of the new image?

Hi Sandra,

I read this to say that the lengths of the sides are reduced by a scale factor of 1/3. One of the sides has length 6.3 cm and one third of 6.3 is $\frac13 \times 6.3 = 2.1$ cm. Thus the length of the new rectangle is 6.3 - 2.1 - 4.2 cm.

You can do this in one step. If you reduce the length by one third you are left with two thirds and $\frac23 \times 6.3 = 4.2.$

What about the other side?


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