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Solving Systems of Equations by Elimination – 2009

By the end of this activity you will have a firm grasp of an algebraic way to solve systems of equations. Do work on
a separate sheet of paper, attach this sheet when you hand it in.

1. “Elimination,” also known as combination, is a (a)


strategy for solving systems of equations alge-
braically. We’ll use the cookies and milk problem 3x + 4y = 13
to demonstrate the procedure,
1
3x + 2y = 8
Two cookies and a glass of milk costs $7, 2
while 3 cookies and two glasses of milk cost
(b)
$11. How much do cookies and milk cost in-
dividually?
5x + 10y = 45
which can be represented by the system of equations x − y = −2.7

3. If itunes makes $2085.60 from 440 downloads, how


2x + y = 7 many of those are regular album downloads and
3x + 2y = 11 how many are individual songs from the Bacilos
album?
Procedure: to solve the system by combination
we must re-arrange the equations (1) so that the
coefficients of one of the variables are equal or op-
posite (additive inverses of each other). Once this is
done, we combine the equations so that one of the
variables is cancelled out (2), then we solve for the
remaining variable (3), and finally substitute our
answer to solve for the other variable (4).
For example, we can solve the above system of equa-
tions with elimination.

2x + y = 7 (1)
3x + 2y = 11 (2)
4. There are 20,630 seats at “The Garden.” Imagine
4x + 2y = 14 ·2 Mult Prop a show where half the tickets are sold, a set of seats
(3) sell for $70 and the rest sell for $45, and the garden
−(3x + 2y) − 11 Subtraction Prop makes $478,725 how many regular and how many
(4) expensive tickets were sold?
x=3 (5)
2(3) + y = 7 Substitution into first equation
(6)
y=1 (7)

So we know that x = 3 and y = 1. This is not the


solution though, the original question should be an-
swered. So we can say that cookies cost $3 and milk
costs $1.

(a) Recopy the steps above and tell which step of


the procedure was done in each step

(b) Why would you use elimination instead of


graphing to solve systems of equations?

2. Solve the system of equations using elimination


Solutions 3. If itunes makes $2085.60 from 440 downloads, how
many of those are regular album downloads and
1. For example, we can solve the above system of equa- how many are individual songs from the Bacilos
tions with elimination. album?
2x + y = 7 (8)
3x + 2y = 11 (9)

4x + 2y = 14 ·2 Mult Prop
(10)
−(3x + 2y) − 11 Subtraction Prop
(11)
x=3 (12)
2(3) + y = 7 Substitution into first equation
(13)
y=1 (14)
(a) Recopy the steps above and tell which step of
the procedure was done in each step

(b) Why would you use elimination instead of


graphing to solve systems of equations? Elim- x + 290 = 440
ination yields exact answers as opposed to x + y = 440 x = 150
graphing which only allows for estimates, so 11.99x + .99y = 2085.6
when you need a precise answer elimination is
11.99x + 11.99y = 5275.6
preferable.
−(11.99x + .99y) − 2085.6
2. Solve the system of equations using elimination
11y = 3190
 
(a) 4 y = 290
3 + 4y = 13
3
3x + 4y = 13
1 4y = 9
3x + 2y = 8 9 So the regular album was downloaded 150 times, and
2 y= there were 290 individual song downloads.
6x + 4y = 17 4
−(3x + 4y) − 13  
4. There are 20,630 seats at “The Garden.” Imagine
4 9
3x = 4 Answer: , a show where half the tickets are sold, a set of seats
3 4
4 sell for $70 and the rest sell for $45, and the garden
x= makes $478,725 how many regular and how many
3
expensive tickets were sold?

(b) 5x + 10(3.9) = 45
x + 582 = 10315
5x + 10y = 45 5x = 6
x + y = 10315 x = 9733
x − y = −2.7 x = 1.2
45x + 70y = 478725 So 582 expensive and 9733
5x − 5y = −13.5 Answer: (1.2, 3.9) 45x + 45y = 464175 cheap tickets were sold.
−(5x + 10y) − 45 −(45x + 70y) − 478725
−15y = −58.5 −25y = −14550
y = 3.9 y = 582