algebra
posted by john .
Homer is giving some cookies to each of his three brothers. To the oldest, he gives half of the cookies and half a cookie. He then gives half of what is now left and half a cookie to his second brother. Finally, he gives half of what is now left and half a cookie to his second brother. At no time is a cookie broken or cut. How many cookies did Homer have to begin with?

If he had three brothers, the third got nothing, and the second brother got cookies twice!
Assuming he gave everything away, and working backwards:
"Finally, he gives half of what is now left and half a cookie to his second brother."
means at the end, he gave away the last one. (half of ONE that is left, and the other half).
"He then gives half of what is now left and half a cookie to his second brother."
So he had three to start, half of what is left is one and a half, plus half makes two. That leaves one.
"To the oldest, he gives half of the cookies and half a cookie."
After this, he had three, so half is three and a half, and he started with 7.
Conclusion: he started with 7 cookies.
In fact, if he had N brothers, he needs a minimum of 2^{N}1 cookies to start with.
Respond to this Question
Similar Questions

MATH
three brothers try to divide some cookies. The oldest brother gets half of the cookies and half of a cookie. The middle brother gets half of the cookies that are left and half of a cookie. The youngest brother gets half of the cookies … 
Math
Meka plans to bake a large circular cookies for her brothers. She wants to decorate the outer edge of the cookie small pieces of choclate. The radius of the cookies is 7 inches.What would be the closest to the curcumference of the … 
Math
Meka plans to bake a large circular cookies for her brothers. She wants to decorate the outer edge of the cookie small pieces of choclate. The radius of the cookies is 7 inches.What would be the closest to the curcumference of the … 
Math
Yuki made cookies on Monday. Some friends came over and ate half the cookies on Tuesday. on Wednesday, Yuki ate three cookies, and on Thursday, she took two cookies to school. By Friday, Yuki had seven cookies left. How many did she … 
Math
Kerri's father bill was a baker. Out of his usual morning batch of cookies bill burned the first 2 dozen cookies. He gave half of what was left to Keri to take to scol. He wrapped up half of the remaining cookies and have them to a … 
Math grade 56
The New York Subway Bakery is famous for selling large "black and white cookies." The top of each cookie has onehalf chocolate icing and onehalf vanilla icing. Mario, the baker, bakes at night after the customers leave. Mario wants … 
Math grade 5
The New York Subway Bakery is famous for selling large "black and white cookies." The top of each cookie has onehalf chocolate icing and onehalf vanilla icing. Mario, the baker, bakes at night after the customers leave. Mario wants … 
Math grade 5
The New York Subway Bakery is famous for selling large "black and white cookies." The top of each cookie has onehalf chocolate icing and onehalf vanilla icing. Mario, the baker, bakes at night after the customers leave. Mario wants … 
Math
A cookie recipe calls for 2/3 of a cup of flour and makes half a dozen cookies. How many cookies can you make if you have 9 cups of flour and want to use it all? 
Math
Kerri's father bill was a baker. Out of his usual morning batch of cookies bill burned the first 2 dozen cookies. He gave half of what was left to Keri to take to school. He wrapped up half of the remaining cookies and have them to …