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How do you solve math problems using a tape diagram?

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Quick Answer

Use a tape diagram to solve math problems by using a "tape" figure made up of separate sections that pertain to values given to you in a word problem. Using a tape diagram to visualize the problem helps you to quickly decide what kind of equation is needed to solve the problem.

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Full Answer

For example, a tape diagram can be used in a simple addition problem that states that person A has 34 marbles and person B has 22 marbles, and the problem asks how many marbles they have together. Using a tape diagram, draw the first section of the tape, and assign it a value of 34, labeling it A underneath. After this, connect a smaller section of tape to the first section, and assign it a value of 22. The tape is now complete, and the two values can be added to calculate the answer to the problem, 56 marbles.

A second type of problem may require two different tape diagrams. For example, if the problem states that person A has 12 marbles and person B has three times the amount of marbles as person A, and the problems asks the number of marbles person B has, begin by drawing the tape diagram for person A and assigning the value of 12. The tape diagram for person B includes three sections the exact size as the tape diagram for person A, each with a value of 12. Add the three sections to get the correct answer, 36 marbles.

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