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# drew is 3yrs younger than his brother jimmy the sum of the brothers ages is 21

have to use variables

### 2 Answers by Expert Tutors

Jeremy E. | Patient, effective tutor for Math, Science, and HistoryPatient, effective tutor for Math, Scien...
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Where x = the age of Jimmy

(x - 3) + x = 21

combine the x values

2x - 3 = 21

move the -3 over to the right hand side of the equations by using the opposite mathematical symbol

2x = 24

divide both sides of the equation by 2

x = 12

Jimmy is 12 years old and Drew is 9 years old

John R. | John R: Math, Science, and History TeacherJohn R: Math, Science, and History Teach...
4.6 4.6 (55 lesson ratings) (55)
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The first step to solving a story problem is identifying variables.  For this problem, I will identify the variables as:

D = Drew's age

J = Jimmy's age

Once the variables are identified, we need to find as many equations as we have variables.  Since we have two variables, we will have to write two equations.

Since Drew is 3 years younger than Jimmy: D + 3 = J

Since the sum of the brothers' ages is 21:  D + J = 21

Once I have two equations is two variables, I can solve the system using either substitution method or elimination  method.  For this problem, I will use substitution method.

D + J = 21                       Equation 2

D + (D + 3) = 21              Substitution of value of J from equation 1 into equation 2

D + D + 3 = 21                Associative property of addition

2D + 3 = 21                    Simplify

2D + 3 - 3 = 21 - 3          Subtract 3 from each side

2D = 18                          Simplify each side

2D/2 = 18/2                    Divide each side by 2

D = 9                             Simplify each side

Now that we have D, we can substitute it into equation 1 to get the value of J

D + 3 = J                         Equation 1

9 + 3 = J                         Substitution

12 = J                             Simplify