# How To Solve Math Problems Step By Step

In our case, we need to figure out how to write an equation that takes the current weight on a scale and gives us back the number of dog toys hidden on it. Well, let’s take the total weight on the scale, which we’ll call W_total, and subtract the weight of just the towels, which we’ll call W_towels.The difference between these two weights must be equal to the combined weight of all the dog toys, W_toys: But we don’t actually want to know the weight of the toys, we want to know the number of toys. Well, if we know the total weight of all the toys, W_toys, and we divide that by the weight of a single toy, W_toy (assuming they're all the same weight), we get the total number of toys, Ntoys: But how did we know the values of W_towels and W_toy?In particular, we're going to talk about how to turn a word problem into an algebraic equation and then solve it.. Being quite clever, you suspect that the cat is the culprit, so you begin to monitor his favorite hiding spot: the pile of towels next to his bed.

I should say that plugging in values isn't always necessary.

For example, we don’t actually have numerical values to use in our problem.

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If the phrase "word problem" sends a shiver down your spine, you're not alone.

Your computer can then use some as-yet-unknown equation to figure out exactly how many toys are hidden.

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