In teaching a lesson on the concept of thirds, Ms. Chu uses a divide-and-set-aside procedure. She starts with a certain number of colored disks, divides them into 3 equal groups, and sets 1 group aside to illustrate 1/3 . She repeats the procedure by taking the disks she had NOT set aside, dividing them into 3 equal groups, and setting 1 of these groups aside. If Ms. Chu wants to be able to complete the divide-and-set-aside procedure at least 4 times (without breaking any of the disks into pieces), which of the following is the minimum number of colored disks she can start with?

  • A. 12

  • B. 15

  • C. 27

  • D. 54

  • E. 81