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Video:Tips for Teaching Word Problem Solving

with Scott Franchell

Learn how to teach word problem solving so that you can help students use real-world applications of math. Here are tips for teaching word problem solving.See Transcript

Transcript:Tips for Teaching Word Problem Solving

Hi, I'm Scott for About.com. Today I have a few tips for you on how to create word problems from Math.About.com. Word problems are a great way to teach children how the math they are learning in school applies to everyday practical situations.

Learn General Math Concepts to Teach Word Problem Solving

Tip 1: Start by becoming familiar with the general concepts your child is learning in math. If they are working on addition, multiplication or even division, focus on problems that use these specific skills. For an overview of these skills, go to Math.About.com.

Focus on Real-Life Situations to Teach Word Problem Solving

Tip 2: Once you've decided the type of word problem you're going to create, relate the problem to a real-life situation. Use people, objects, places, or concepts that they are familiar with. In the following word problem, familiar everyday circumstances such as preparing to go to school help the student relate to abstract fourth grade number concepts.

Sample Word Problem for Fourth Graders

Here is a sample problem: Kerri has to be to school by 8:30. It takes her 5 minutes to brush her teeth, 10 minutes to shower, 20 minutes to dry her hair, 10 minutes to eat breakfast and 25 minutes to walk to school. What time will she need to get up? Here the daily situation of getting ready to go to school helps children relate to abstract number concepts and time measurement.One of the best ways to help children learn math is to present them with a problem in which they have to devise their own strategies to find the solutions.

Use Specific Keywords to Teach Word Problem Solving

Tip 3: When creating word problems, it can be useful to use specific keywords such as 'more than,' less than, the product of, or 'shared equally' to clue the student into realizing whether addition, subtraction, multiplication or division is required in the problem. For example, in the following problem, the keyword 'altogether' designates that addition is required to solve the problem. Here is the sample problem using this keyword: On Wednesday you saw 12 robins on one tree and 7 on another tree. How many robins did you see altogether? There were 12 robins on one tree -- so that's 12. Then on the other tree 7 robins, so that’s 12 plus 7 which equals 19 robins altogether.

Justify Solutions When Teaching Word Problem Solving

Allow the students to devise their own strategies to find the solution. There is usually more than 1 way to solve math problems. Tip 4: Have the students justify their solutions.You can find word problem worksheets according to each grade on Math.About.com along with more practical problem solving tips.

Thank you for watching. For more information, visit Math.About.com.

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