# Problem Solving: Find the width of each column

**Question**

Ms. Williams wants to make a five-column grid on a page that is 22cm wide. Of these columns, the first three should be the same width, the fourth should be twice as wide as the first, and the fifth should be three times the width of the first. In addition, she wants a 2 cm margin to the left side before the grid and a 1cm margin on the right. How wide should each column be?

**Answer**

**STEP 1: ** We shall first make a sketch out of the given data for a better understanding. Let us draw a rectangle first, divide it into 7 columns including the margins and then mark the widths. The width of the 5 columns of unknown width are but given relative to the width of the first column. So, we put a variable, say,

x for the width of the first column. Then, the widths of the second and third columns will be

x each, the width of the fourth column will be

2x, and that of the fifth column will be

3x.

**STEP 2: **Now, our objective is to find

x. From the figure it is clear that

x can be determined by adding the widths of the columns and the margins and equating it to the total width of the page.

**STEP 3: **Now that we know the value of

x, we can calculate the width of each column.

The width of the second and third columns is:

the fourth column is:

and the third column is: