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January 18th, 2016, 10:34 PM  #1 
Newbie Joined: Jan 2016 From: Singapore Posts: 1 Thanks: 0  Please help to solve
My daughter is preparing for grade 1 school and for entry test, there is a math questions which seems quite difficult for a 5 years kid. Question is as follows Mary has 2 boxes of pencils. There are 8 pencils altogether. Box A has 2 fewer pencils than Box B. Fill in the number of pencils in each box Can anyone help to find out the easiest way to solve this problem that a 5 year old easily understand? 
January 18th, 2016, 11:52 PM  #2 
Global Moderator Joined: Dec 2006 Posts: 20,622 Thanks: 2075 
The following solution follows the pattern: simplify the problem, solve the simplified problem, and then deduce the solution of the original problem. Removing two pencils from Box B leaves 6 pencils with the same number in each box, so each box now has 3 pencils. That means Box A has 3 pencils and Box B originally had 3 + 2 = 5 pencils. Another thought process for the above solution: starting with the boxes empty and 8 pencils, creating the situation described can be achieved by putting 2 pencils in Box B, then distributing the remaining 6 pencils equally between the boxes by putting 3 pencils in each box. This results in Box A holding 3 pencils and Box B holding 5 pencils. For another solution by much the same method, start by transferring one pencil from Box B to Box A so that the boxes will have 4 pencils each. Moving one pencil back from Box A to Box B gives the answers as 3 and 5. 

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