Hi Niya,

Let's call the two numbers A and B.

Now, lets' read the problem word for word and convert it to math symbols:

"The sum of the numbers is 24" which means

A + B = 24 (This is the first equation of your system)

Next, we read, "7 times the first number minus the second number is equal to 16" which means

7A - B = 16 (This is the second equation of your system)

If I take the first equation and solve it for B (which means get B by itself on one side), we see that

B = 24 - A

Let's use this expression for B and substitute it in for B in the second equation

7A - B = 16

7A - (24 - A) = 16 See the replacement! :)

7A - 24 + A = 16 Distribute the negative on the left side)

8A - 24 = 16

8A = 16 + 24

8A = 40

A = 5

which means that B must be 19 since the two numbers have to add up to 24.

A is the smallest number! A = 5

Hope this helps! :)