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# Whole Numbers in Word Problems Help

based on 1 rating
By McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 21, 2011

## Whole Numbers in Word Problems

In order to solve word problems follow these steps:

1. Read the problem carefully .
2. Identify what you are being asked to find .
3. Perform the correct operation or operations .
4. Check your answer or at least see if it is reasonable .

In order to know what operation to perform, it is necessary to understand the basic concept of each operation.

When you are asked to find the "sum" or the "total" or "how many in all," and the items are the same in the problem, you add.

#### Example

Find the total calories in a meal consisting of a cheeseburger (550 calories), French fries (352 calories), and a soft drink (110 calories).

#### Solution

Since you want to find the total number of items and the items are the same (calories), you add: 550 + 352 + 110 = 1012 calories. Hence, the total number of calories in the meal is 1012.

### Subtraction

When you are asked to find the difference, i.e., "how much more," "how much less," "how much larger," "how much smaller," etc., and the items are the same, you subtract.

#### Example

The total area of Lake Superior is 81,000 square miles and the total area of Lake Erie is 32,630 square miles. How much larger is Lake Superior?

#### Solution

Since you are asked how much larger is Lake Superior than Lake Erie, you subtract. 81,000 – 32,630 = 48,370. Hence, Lake Superior is 48,370 square miles larger than Lake Erie.

### Multiplication

When you are asked to find a total and the items are different, you multiply.

#### Example

An auditorium consists of 24 rows with 32 seats in each row. How many people can the auditorium seat?

#### Solution

Since you want a total and the items are different (rows and seats), you multiply:

The auditorium will seat 768 people.

### Division

When you are given a total and are asked to find how many items in a part, you divide.

#### Example

If 96 calculators are packed in 8 boxes, how many calculators would be placed in each box?

#### Solution

In this case, the total is 96, and they are to be put into 8 boxes, so to find the answer, divide.

Each box would have 12 calculators in it.

#### Practice

Solve:

1. Find the total number of home runs for the following players: Bonds, 73; McGwire, 70; Sosa, 66; Maris, 61; Ruth, 60.
2. John paid \$17,492 for his new automobile. Included in the price was the surround sound package at a cost of \$1,293. How much would the automobile have cost without the surround sound package?
3. Dinner for 15 people costs \$375. If they decided to split the cost equally, how much would each person pay?
4. A housing developer bought 12 acres of land at \$3,517 per acre. What was the total cost of the land?
5. Mark ran a 5-mile race in 40 minutes. About how long did it take him on average to run each mile?

1. 330 home runs
2. \$16,199
3. \$25
4. \$42,204
5. 8 minutes

More practice problems for these concepts can be found at: Whole Numbers Practice Test.

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