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two silk butterflies and one silk rose cost 18 dollars. What is the cost of each?

This is for a problem solving class for future elementary school teachers. So far this section has only covered number patterns so I am a bit lost.
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3 Answers

There's definitely something missing. These questions are supposed to practice trial and error -- I know because I am in the same type of class -- but to  practice that, there has to be prices of the silk butterflies and silk roses so you can play around with numbers to solve for it.
 
Or maybe you just need to play with numbers like this:
 
Two silk butterflies, means two of the same number must be added together + 1 silk rose, a different or same number = $18
 
That could mean butterflies are 8 dollars each and roses are 2 dollars each since 8+8+2= 18
Or 7+7+3 = 18
Or 5+5+8
Or 4+4+10
And so on...
 
But it could also be each item is 6 dollars each since 6+6+6 = 18
 
 
 
But that would be a pretty weird question because you can answer it in so many ways, so shes either missing information or going for creative answers. 
 
I hope this helps a little bit. Good luck!
But you could "answer" it by saying that
 
r = 18 - 2b, and that 

b = 18 - b - r
 
Not very satisfying, but technically true...
Actually, you haven't been given enough information to solve this as an algebra problem. Perhaps there was some additional information you left out (another relationship among butterfly, rose, and price perhaps?). Or perhaps the point of the question was to train you on how your future students might feel if you accidentally give them a problem without enough information to solve it...

Comments

Indeed, all the information we currently have looks like:
2b + r = 18
 
In its current form, there is no way to determine a value for either variable.