A student I am tutoring is in a pre-calc class and they just had a test on rational functions. One of the questions my student said they got was to minimize the area of the outer rectangle, given that the area of the inner rectangle is a fixed 48, and the distance to the outer rectangle on either side is 1.5 horizontally and 1 vertically.
If we call the horizontal side length of the inner rectangle x, and the vertical y, then we can get the area for the outer rectangle (SB, surface area big) as
SB = 144/y + 2y + 56
Without needing much convincing, I explained (since 56 is const., and factor of 2 is constant as well) we can reduce it to optimizing 72/y+y. And then I am stuck.
After thinking about it for a bit, I tried plotting f(y)=72/y and f(y)=y together with f(y)=72/y+y, and the minimum appears at 72/y=y, which incidentally is the answer we find using calculus. But I got no idea if this is coincidental or if this is indeed a key to answering this question.
Anyways, the problem is to minimize the area of the outer rectangle without the use of calculus. Any hints / ideas?