n Learning and Teaching Mathematics - Compound proportions

Volume 2015, Issue 18
  • ISSN : 1990-6811


In an old copy of An Advanced Arithmetic for High Schools, Normal Schools and Academies (Wentworth, 1898) I recently came across the following problem:

If 4 men mow 15 acres in 5 days of 14 hours, in how many days of 13 hours can 7 men mow 19.5 acres?
This problem is typical of a class of problems involving compound proportion in which more than two quantities are involved in two situations where one of the quantities is missing. The purpose of this paper is to revisit this class of problems and employ the tools of direct and inverse variation to find the solution. While this type of problem may have fallen out of fashion, there is still some valuable mathematics to be found within.

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