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# How do you solve an indirect proportion problem in math?

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To solve an indirect proportion math problem, identify the two given proportions. Next, multiply the increasing quantity and decreasing quantity of the known proportion to find the constant. Use the constant in the indirect proportion equation to solve for the unknown value.

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1. Identify the two proportions in the problem

If given a problem asks how many hours it takes five people to paint a house if it previously took eight people 17 hours, determine which value increases when the other decreases. In this problem, when the number of people increases, the time decreases.

2. Calculate the constant

The formula to determine the constant is x * y = k. Since the time it takes to paint the house with five people is the unknown, time is assigned to the y variable, and the number of people is assigned to x. Therefore, the constant is 136.

3. Calculate the unknown quantity

The formula to solve an indirect proportion is y = (k / x). K is the constant, y is the unknown value and x is the known value. For example, if the constant is 136 and x equals five, the equation is (136 / 5) = 27.2. Therefore, painting the house takes 27.2 hours with five people.

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## Related Questions

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Solve simple mathematical proportions by writing the ratios as fractions, setting these fractions equal to each other, cross-multiplying and then solving for any variables. A simple ratio to solve is 2:x = 3:9, which means "2 is to x as 3 is to 9."

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In math, the mean is the average of a set of numbers. To determine the mean, add all numbers in a set and take this answer and divide it by how many numbers are in the set.

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The numbers to add in an addition problem are called addends, summands or terms, while the answer to the problem is the sum. In the number sentence a+b=c, a and b are addends, while c is the sum.