math
posted by zach .
A magician has 3 more red hats than black hats and 4 fewer purple hats than black hats and has 14 hatsin all. How many hats of each color does he have. Show how you got the answer.

You can get the answer by using algebra or by guessing the number of black and seeing what works.
Perhaps you are not learning algebra yet.
If I guess there are 5 black hats, then there are 8 red ones and 1 purple one. The sum is 14. So that's the answer. 
B+3=R
B4=P
B+P+R=14
substitute for P and R
(B)+(B4)+(B+3)=14
3B1=14
solve from here