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The challenge is to find a solution without using algebra. Furthermore, a solution that would be accessible to an extremely talented 4th grader, but, with only a fouth grade education.

I do not know if such a solution exists. I'll outline my "best shot" in a subsequent post. It uses no algebra, but it uses too many things that might be viewed as "tricks" by a talented fourth grader. This means that it does a poor job of statifying the "accessible to a fourth grader" criteria. Another way of stating the problem is to find a solution that might be more accessible to a fourth grader than mine.

The problem was allegedly assigned to the son of a member in my church. He posed the problem to a group of about 10 adults in the church who could not solve it (without algebra). I was home sick that day. My wife bought the problem home and I got it, but, it took me quite a while.

I was not sure where to post this problem. I considered the "number theory" thread. Because of its similarity to the "three sailors, one monkey and a whole bunch of coconuts" problem that is described in the book "Algebra" by Saunders and MacLane. I considered other forums. This one seemed the most likely to have readers interested in this kind of thing.

I'll wait a while before I post my solutions. Maybe some of you will better me first and I won't have to.

I don't know how to use hidden text. What is the sequence of symbols that I type to get it started?

DJ