Over the last couple of weeks, I posted two Flower themed algebra maths puzzles. The first was fairly straight forward with only a little tricky bit.

However, the second one was intentionally designed to make it difficult for you to get the correct answer.

If you have not yet attempted the puzzles, click on the links above and answer the polls before reading the rest of this article.

So here are the solutions ….

**Flower themed algebra maths puzzle**

This one is just algebra. Let’s assign some letters:

R = Red, B = Blue, Y = Yellow

**R + R + R = 60**

Add R’s together: 3R = 60

Divide both sides by 3: R = 20

**R + B + B = 30**

Substitute R: 20 + B + B = 30

Add B’s together = 20 + 2B = 30

Subtract 20 from both sides: 2B = 10

Divide both sides by 2: B = 5

**B – 2Y = 3**

Substitute B: 5 – 2Y = 3

Subtract 5 from both sides -2Y = -2

Divide both sides by -2: Y = 1

**R + Y + B = ?**

Substitute values: 20 + 1 + 5 = ?

Addition: 26 = ?

**Answer is 26**. Did you get it? Did you notice there are two stems for the yellow flower in the third equation?

Looking at the poll on the original post, 61% of people solved this correctly. And 36% missed the two yellow flowers in the third equation and so incorrectly thought Y = 2.

**Another Flower themed algebra maths puzzle**

This one starts the same as the previous puzzle. Let’s assign some letters:

R = Red, B = Blue, Y = Yellow

**R + R + R = 60**

Add R’s together: 3R = 60

Divide both sides by 3: R = 20

**R + B + B = 30**

Substitute R: 20 + B + B = 30

Add B’s together = 20 + 2B = 30

Subtract 20 from both sides: 2B = 10

Divide both sides by 2: B = 5

**B – 2Y = 3**

Substitute B: 5 – 2Y = 3

Subtract 5 from both sides -2Y = -2

Divide both sides by -2: Y = 1

**Y + R x (4/5)B = ?**

Substitute values: 1 + 20 x (4/5)5 = ?

Brackets first: 1 + 20 x 4 = ?

Then Multiply: 1 + 80 = ?

Addition: 81 = ?

**Answer is 81**. Did you get it? Did you notice that the final blue flower only had four of the five petals the others had and so is only worth 4/5 or 80% of the full value for blue?

Looking at the poll on the original post, only 11% of people successfully calculated the correct answer. 40% of people did not notice the missing petal on the final blue flower (despite the warning to read the question EXTREMELY carefully). 24% of people missed the missing blue petal AND the two yellow flowers in the third equation. We even had a few people miss the fact that this version of the puzzle finished with a multiplication instead of addition in the last equation.

**Moral of the story:** Always concentrate carefully on the problem being proposed. If you get your understanding of the problem wrong, you have no chance to get the solution correct. This is valid in all aspects of life, both work and play.

Post your thoughts as comments…

David

This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.