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Alfredo Gonzalez

Shane Tang
MATH-1010
January 29, 2018
Score: ______

Exotic Animals Project


Intermediate Algebra Spring 2018

Write down necessary steps and answers clearly and legibly to earn full credit. Complete this project by
yourself.
The following question is modified from Carl Stitz and Jeff Zeager’s Precalculus.
Alexander’s Exotic Animal Rescue houses snakes, frogs, and scorpions. When asked how many animals of
each kind he boards, Daniel answered: ‘We board 45 total animals, and I am responsible for each of their 108
legs and 32 tails.’ (Recall: snakes have no legs and one tail, frogs have 4 legs and no tail, and scorpions have
8 legs and one tail.)
Your goal is to find the number of each animal the Rescue boards by answering the following questions.

1. Use a variable to represent the number of each of the 3 animals. Write down what each variable
represents.

Snakes = X
Frogs = Y
Scorpions = Z

2. Write down the system of 3 linear equations.

𝐱 + 𝐲 + 𝐳 = 𝟒𝟓
{𝟒𝐲 + 𝟖𝐳 = 𝟏𝟎𝟖
𝐱 + 𝐳 = 𝟑𝟐

3. Write down the corresponding augmented matrix.

1 1 1 45
0 4 8 108
1 0 1 32
4. Solve the same system using matrices. Be sure to use correct notations and write down
all necessary steps. No credit will be given if you use other techniques!

1 1 1 45
0 4 8 108
1 0 1 32

1 1 1 45
0 4 8 108
→ R1(-1) + R3 0 -1 0 -13

1 1 1 45
0 4 8 108
→ R3(-1) 0 1 0 13

1 1 1 45
→ Swap R3 & R2 0 1 0 13
0 4 8 108

1 1 1 45
0 1 0 13
→ R2(-4) + R3 0 0 8 56

1 1 1 45
0 1 0 13
→ R3 / 8 0 0 1 7
/8
→ R2(-1) + R1 1 0 1 32
/8 0 1 0 13
0 0 1 7

→ R3(-1) + R1 1 0 0 25
/8 0 1 0 13
0 0 1 7

(25, 13, 7)

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5. State your answers in a complete sentence.

Animals Legs Tails


Snakes 25 0 25
Frogs 13 52 0
Scorpions 7 56 7
TOTAL 45 108 32

Alexander’s Exotic Animal Rescue houses a total of 45 animals. Of these forty-five animals,
twenty-five are snakes, thirteen are frogs, and seven are scorpions.

6. This project is worth a lot of points. What do you do to ensure that your answers are
correct? Write at least 150 words to convince your family that your answers are correct.
Indicate how many words you write.

The first step in solving this problem is to take the information provided in the description and set up a
system of three equations with three variables. It is imperative that our system of equations
accurately represents the information provided in the description, given that all subsequent work will
build on this initial set up.
To verify that the system of equations was set up correctly and to help wrap our minds around the
problem, we can write a set of statements or rules to guide our work.
 We know that AEAR (Alexander’s Exotic Animal Rescue) houses 3 types of animals (our three
variables) and we know that the total sum of the animals is 45. Therefore:

x + y + z = 45

 Next we set up an equation to find the number of legs. We are told that between the animals
there are 108 legs and we infer that x = 0 since snakes have no legs. We keep in mind that
frogs have 4 legs and scorpions have 8. Therefore:

0x + 4y + 8z = 108
or
4y + 8z = 108

 Lastly we set up an equation to find the number of tails. We are told that between all the
animals there are 32 tails and we infer that y = 0 since frogs have no tails. Therefore:

x + 0y + z = 32
or
3
x + z = 32
Now that we have our system of equation, we can set up our matrix.

1 1 1 45 𝐱 + 𝐲 + 𝐳 = 𝟒𝟓
0 4 8 108 Is the same as {𝟒𝐲 + 𝟖𝐳 = 𝟏𝟎𝟖
1 0 1 32 as 𝐱 + 𝐳 = 𝟑𝟐

We then start looking for the shortest path to get the matrix in the format:
R1: 1 0 0 I X
R2: 0 1 0 I Y
R3: 0 0 1 I Z

We come up with:

→ R1(-1) + R3
→ R3(-1)
→ Swap R3 & R2
→ R2(-4) + R3
→ R3 / 8
→ R2(-1) + R1
→ R3(-1) + R1

(See table on next page for a detailed breakdown of operations)

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Step by Step Operation Breakdown
R1(-1) = -1 -1 -1 I -45
→ R1(-1) + R3 +R3 = 1 0 1 I 32
_______
=
R3: 0 -1 0 I -13

R3(-1)= 0 1 0 I 13
→ R3(-1) _______
=
R3: 0 1 0 I 13

Since we already isolated the y variable in the


→ Swap R3 & R2 previous step, and we want the matrix in an ordered
set (x, y, z) we can simply swap rows 2 and 3.

R2(-4) = 0 -4 0 I -52
→ R2(-4) + R3 +R3 = 0 4 8 I 108
_______
=
R3: 0 0 8 I 56

→ R3 / 8 R3 / 8 = R3: 0 0 1 I 7

R2(-1) = 0 -1 0 I -13
→ R2(-1) + R1 +R1 = 1 1 1 I 45
_______
=
R1: 1 0 1 I 32

R3(-1) = 0 0 -1 I -7
→ R3(-1) + R1 +R1 = 1 0 1 I 32
_______
=
R1: 1 0 0 I 25

We know that we have successfully isolated and solved for each variable because our matrix is in the
format:
R1: 1 0 0 I X
R2: 0 1 0 I Y
R3: 0 0 1 I Z

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Lastly we check our answers by substituting the results of the matrix with the variables in our
equations.

x + y + z = 45
25 + 13 + 7 = 45
45 = 45
This is Correct 

4y + 8z = 108
4(13) + 8(7) = 108
52 + 56 = 108
108 = 108
This is Correct 

x + z = 32
25 + 7 = 32
32 = 32
This is Correct 

Word count for question six: 627

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