Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from David, a student:

A plumber has a 10-foot piece of PVC pipe. How many 9/5-foot pieces can be cut from the 10-foot piece ?

Hi David,

Nine fifths of a foot is almost 2 feet and 10 divided by 2 is 5 so my first guess is five pieces.

If there are 5 pieces and each is $\frac95$ feet long then that's $ 5 \times \frac95$ feet. How much is left? Is that enough to cut another piece $\frac95$ feet long?


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