Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Kevin:

A student I am tutoring was sent this question from his teacher.

Solve for x: 13 - 3x = x times the square root of 5

Hi Kevin,

I would first ask the student "Can you solve $13 - 3x = 7x?$" Hopefully the student will add $3x$ to each side to get $13 = 3x + 7x = 10x$ and then divide both sides by 10 to find that $x = 1.3.$ Now try the same technique on $13 - 3x = \sqrt{5} x.$

Write back if you need more assistance,

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