Is your student struggling with word problems? Parents often say that the hardest part of teaching mathematics is word problems. Join us as we talk about HOW to teach a word problem, what skills you as a parent have to contribute to the process, and how to involve your student in active learning. We will share information that is helpful for students of all ages.
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- Not being able to solve word problems is often a clue that the concept is not understood. If you haven’t been using the manipulatives in the instruction of that concept, go back and try again with the manipulatives.
- Make sure the student can teach back the concept to you to demonstrate understanding before tackling the word problem.
- Be sure to use the Instruction Manual. Find the word problem tips in the index of each Instruction Manual. Also, the Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta levels of Math-U-See have additional word problems in the Instruction Manual after four of the lessons.
- You can also get word problem tips in the Digital Toolbox, even if you’re not using Math-U-See. Just create an account and select any Math-U-See level. Click on any of the first three lessons, and the tips are in the “Resources” tab.
- Use the manipulatives for some of the word problems. Those manipulatives can be an integral part of understanding the word problem. Act out the problem or recreate it. (Note: This may backfire when you are dealing with a creative child. They can get lost in the process. The manipulatives help us stay on task with the focus of mathematical thinking. We want them to think mathematically here, not creatively.)
- To create extra word problems, use those already in the book and just change the nouns and verbs to create a different problem with the same numbers.
- Consider splitting up each day’s work between equations and word problems. Starting the word problems on a separate day or after a break on the same day may help prevent fatigue.
Look for math keyword charts online, but then allow your children to make their own.
Solve Like a Word Problem
1. Start with fresh eyes. Take a break before you begin the word problems.
2. Read the word problem all the way through first — don’t worry about the numbers. Then ask yourself, “What do I understand?”
3. Re-read it OUT LOUD again and “BEEP” out the numbers.
4. Are there keywords? Circle them.
5. Note: You can reduce anxiety about word problems by helping your child learn to craft their own.
6. Word problems need to be answered in words. Can you plug your answer in and does it make sense?
7. Relax. This is a skill that takes time to develop.Upcoming Episodes
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